William Booth founded The Salvation Army in 1878 as a Christian mission to East London’s poor, unchurched residents. He had experimented with faith-based, social outreach for more than a decade. His partner and fellow preacher was his wife, Catherine Mumford Booth. During the lean years, when Booth’s slum mission existed on a shoestring, Catherine subsidized the household by ministering to the wealthy. Their eight children also joined the family enterprise, finding vocations as Army leaders.

Booth’s early efforts, which included soup kitchens and outdoor revivals, fell short of his aim to save lost souls. But when he reconstituted his ministry as a Salvation Army, a militant force for the Kingdom of God, he met with success. The Army adopted military language, uniforms, hierarchy, and rules. Booth ...

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