Guest post by Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton
‘Marching Towards Justice‘ is the best publication I have read in a long time. It is challenging, inspiring, exciting and “Army”!
It gives us glimpses of ‘the heroic stories of the past’: the early Salvation Army – ‘a revolutionary movement seeking to turn the world upside down – an Army born for justice-seeking’. In doing so, it gives us a timely reminder of who we were raised up to be and what we were raised up to do.
The chapter on methodology is excellent and should be read and lived out by every Corps/ Centre in the Army world. It lists four key essential elements necessary to be successful in transforming neighbourhoods:
- Visitation: this is ‘at the very heart of Salvationist practice’. From my own experience, I know that there is nothing better than meeting people in their homes. Building relationships this way is key to ‘success’.
- Power Analysis: We need to know our community, not think we know it. We need to ‘have a true understanding of how things work around here’.
- Training and Development: The pamphlet does not suggest training about ideologies, nor training advocates, nor training programme directors. Rather our training should lead people to think for themselves, to find their own voice, and to act for themselves. It is rooted in the belief that every person, no matter their circumstances, has the capacity to act for change.
- Public Action: This section is about more than just praying, getting informed, and getting others informed. It is about actually going and doing. Through wisdom, research, and being prophetic – a wonderful ‘mix’ of our practice and reliance on God – he speaks and works through us.
These four elements are not just theory – they work. The wonderful stories in the last chapter are proof of that. This publication is written by four ‘blood and fire’ Salvation Army officers – Majors Kerry and Nick Coke and Lieutenants Naomi and John Clifton – who practise what they preach and put their beliefs into action.
That is why this little pamphlet of only 49 pages is so powerful!
Read it and get inspired!
Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton is the International Secretary for Europe, IHQ, and co-founder of Others, a Salvation Army social enterprise.