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”

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”

Visitation for social change

Last Monday, we discussed ‘the craft of visitation‘.  We reflected on its importance to the role of a Salvation Army Officer: the need for all Salvationists to be involved in visiting, that visitation is a skill that can be developed, and that it is a discipline that is important to plan and prioritise.

IMG_0029In Thurday’s guest-post, Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton said “Building relationships this way is the key to ‘success’.”   In this context, we are defining success as ‘effecting social change’ and this is something Commissioner Birgitte knows a lot about, being one of the co-founders of Others, a Salvation Army social enterprise.  A social enterprise is an intervention in the market.  In Sally Ann – Poverty to Hope about the early days of Others, when it was known as Sally Ann, there is a description of a change in mindset that took place when people realised they should no longer be ‘recipients of development aid or charitable handouts’ but rather ‘business partners.’  Let’s consider how this ‘change in mindset’ might be applied to our practice of visitation in two ways: Continue reading “Visitation for social change”

Review: “…challenging, inspiring, exciting and “Army”!”

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”!

SubstandardFullSizeRenderIt 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: Continue reading “Review: “…challenging, inspiring, exciting and “Army”!””

Review of ‘Marching Towards Justice’

It’s great when you get a good review. Even better when you get insights like these:
‘…justice seeking through community organising is part of the DNA of the Salvation Army. Indeed without such principles, being content simply with charity without justice, it is actually a betrayal of the founding principles of the Army and will result in detracting from its mission.’ Continue reading “Review of ‘Marching Towards Justice’”