As some things change, our commitment to Australians stays the same.
In September 1880, The Salvation Army commenced its mission to live, love and fight alongside Australians in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens. There was no building. There was no band. There was no drum. There wasn’t even a Salvation Army flag. But making up for the lack of what could be considered essential items for a successful first gathering; the qualities of passion, determination and commitment were visibly present. There and then The Salvation Army was founded and an outpost of an international movement was established with the noble focus of transforming Australia one life at a time with the love of Jesus.
Since that historic moment, The Salvation Army in Australia has been on a kaleidoscopic journey of being a visible and active presence in communities right around the nation, a journey defined by love, inclusion and service to others. For those experiencing suffering, the Salvos have always been there. And we’ve backed up that commitment, advocating to combat injustice in all its forms.
The eighth international leader of the Salvation Army, General Frederick Coutts, implored our movement “to love our neighbour and put their needs before our own.” To us, this encapsulates our mission. We walk alongside Australians in their hours of greatest need to give hope of a better future.
It is unlikely that the average Australian knows that, for a large part of the 135 years that the Salvos have operated in Australia, the movement has been administered by two Territories. On 1 March 2016, we announced our intention to unite our organisation as one here in Australia.
Why are we doing this? It’s quite simple. We’re about ensuring all Australians have the opportunity to be transformed—and this moment of unity is an unprecedented opportunity to achieve this. As a consequence: our vision is now aligned, we speak with a united voice, our ability to innovate has increased, we develop stronger partnerships, we are better stewards, above all creating a greater impact for The Salvation Army throughout the nation.
While we are making some exciting changes to how we operate to achieve greater impact for the millions of Australians experiencing hardship and social isolation, one thing that will not change is our commitment to caring for people, creating faith pathways, building healthy communities and working for justice.
We take this opportunity to thank each one of you as partners in our work and ministry in this nation. You are the army behind the Army, supporting us with generous contributions of voluntary service, in-kind and monetary donations and constant appreciation for the work of our national mission force. For that, we are so appreciative.
It is a great privilege to serve as the National Leaders of The Salvation Army in Australia. We are fully aware of the support The Salvation Army has provided to millions of Australians over the years. But this wouldn’t happen without the selfless service and courageous leadership of the thousands of gifted and highly capable leaders and staff who are leading our frontline charge to transform this nation. We are truly blessed to have people of such calibre in our ranks.
As one of Jesus’ great commandments was to love our neighbour; we commit ourselves in prayer and practice to this land of Australia and its people, seeking reconciliation, unity and equity. We will continue to live, love and fight for justice alongside our neighbours regardless of who they are, where they are from, who they love or what they believe. It is part of our DNA as a movement and it is a promise to all Australians that will never cease.
What we are doing now is setting our movement up for future effectiveness. For more than 135 years, Salvos have stepped into places of hardship or injustice so people never have to walk alone, but are supported by the love of Jesus. We will continue this journey and look forward to you walking alongside us in our mission to transform Australia one life at a time.
May God bless you each one.
Floyd and Tracey Tidd (Commissioners)
The Salvation Army Australia