Marching Towards Justice in Keighley: Top 5 Community Organising Tips

Guest post by Lt Ben Cotterill

After one year of Salvation Army officership (leadership), I’m barely off of the starting blocks! With a background in international development within The Salvation Army I decided to make the jump, together with my wife, to our movements two-year leadership training programme in London. As novice preachers, rookie pastors, and enthusiastic community organizers we were sent to serve an unsuspecting congregation in the Yorkshire town of Keighley, (Northern England).

Our new responsibilities include the operation of one of the largest Salvation Army-run food banks in the country. We were encouraged to assess the effectiveness of the food bank from various people, including our ever humble and helpful predecessors. Continue reading “Marching Towards Justice in Keighley: Top 5 Community Organising Tips”

Community Organising: where it came from and why it matters

Guest post by Major Malcolm Martin.

lukeA few weeks ago William Booth College partnered with South London Citizens to host a conversation with Luke Bretherton, who shared some of the key concepts outlined in his latest book ‘Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life’. The book examines the theoretical foundations of community organising, particularly as found in the work of Saul Alinsky, and relates them to an extended case study of implementation within London Citizens – inc
luding an honourable mention for ‘Nick Coke, a softly spoken Salvation Army officer’. Those who are readily familiar with ‘Marching Towards Justice’ will find this to be a familiar format. Continue reading “Community Organising: where it came from and why it matters”

Cows! and what we can learn from the farmers

Naomi and I were on our way to Salisbury this afternoon with our daughter, when we suddenly had to come to a stop on the B3079.  We realised that, a few cars ahead, a cow had come into the road. With its friends, the cow waited patiently until it was ready to move on.  It reminded us that over the last few weeks, cows have been ‘wandering’ into places they’re not usually found – namely, supermarkets!  Farmers for Action, a campaign group, organised a number of actions which drew significant media attention.  These, alongside the negotiations, put sufficient pressure to get Asda, Morrisons and Aldi to agree to increase the amount they pay for milk, linking it to the cost of production.
 In our pamphlet Marching Towards Justice: Community Organising and The Salvation Army, we describe public actions as being essential for seeking justice.  Without it, the other ingredients that we discuss  (visitation, power analysis, and leadership development) become neutralised for the purpose of changing the world from the way it is to the way it should be.  The public actions by the Farmers for Action are great examples of how it can and should be done.  Here’s why: Continue reading “Cows! and what we can learn from the farmers”

…a Salvationist, telling my own story…

Guest post from Panna Simon

When I first came to The Salvation Army in 2012, I was 8 months pregnant and had just been made homeless. I had moved into a privately rented flat that had turned out not to be fit for human inhabitance.  There was mould, severe struPanna & David (2)ctural problems, no heating and dodgy electricity. It was basically built on top of a garage. This was meant to be the place that I would bring my son back to.

I reported this to the council who condemned the property straight away but then wouldn’t help me with further accommodation because I was in-between an application changing from jobseekers allowance to maternity allowance.  I worked really hard to find a flat and then was able to get some money together for the deposit.  I moved in on the Monday. I went in to labour on the Tuesday. Just in time! Continue reading “…a Salvationist, telling my own story…”

Though we are different, we are decided…

Guest post from Dan Tomlinson

In the past fortnight I’ve read two books: “Marching for Justice” and “Go Set a Watchman”, the widely publicised sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird”. One, a pamphlet on community organizing and the Salvation Army and the other a novel exploring issues of race, family and faith in the USA in the 1960s. Different though these titles may sound, they both showed me the importance of looking beyond the things that divide us. I wanted to highlight how this is an essential feature of successful community organising.

“Go Set a Watchman” returns to the Finch family of Macomb, Alabama, 20 years after the events in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Jean Louise is now in her late twenties and has been living in New York for a number of years. She returns to the family home for a summer break and discovers that many of the people she knows and loves hold very different views on race than her own. This progressive New Yorker is forced to accept that the town she loves is, at least in part, a town of hatred and division. Continue reading “Though we are different, we are decided…”