Salvation Army opens its doors to celebrate 140 years

A bandmasters' meeting held by Sheffield Salvation Army
A bandmasters' meeting held by Sheffield Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is throwing opens its doors for an interactive exhibition for the community on Saturday (October 20) as part of its 140th birthday celebrations.

The church on Psalter Lane is inviting people ‘behind the scenes’ of its church to visit specially-created fun, interactive exhibitions that explore the church’s history, music and community work, among a variety of other topics. There is also time and space for people to reflect on their own values and beliefs.

A Sheffield Salvation Army choir in the mid-20th century

A Sheffield Salvation Army choir in the mid-20th century

The  event will be explored by local schoolchildren today and tomorrow, fitting with the relevant primary school curriculum.

The minister in charge at Sheffield Citadel Salvation Army, Major Sue Pegram, said: “Our exhibition is a fun, interactive way of sharing the message of hope and transformation through God’s love that we’ve been bringing to the city since we arrived 140 years ago.

“It’s also a great opportunity for our community to be able to find out more about we’ve been doing in that time and take the opportunity to ask questions about what we do and why – from the uniforms many of us wear to the rich musical heritage for which we are known.

“There’s even an opportunity for people to try out a brass instrument!

The earliest picture of The Salvation Army's Sheffield Citadel band, taken in 1891

The earliest picture of The Salvation Army's Sheffield Citadel band, taken in 1891

“This is one of many events we have organised over the past year to celebrate our anniversary and we’re once again looking forward to our community joining us to celebrate all we have achieved together over that time and to remind people that we continue to be available to them, offering a warm welcome, friendship and practical assistance.

“Our message to the community hasn’t changed in 140 years: all we do is offered with a message of hope and transformation through God’s love for everyone.”

In 1878 Sheffield press described the year as “one of the worst years Sheffield manufacturers and workmen have experienced in a generation”, with wages at an all-time low and the mayor’s distress fund distributing much-needed money.

The Salvation Army (then the Christian Mission) sent a team of four led by - against Victorian convention of female roles - Mary Goddard.

The Princess Royal in 1955 at Charter Row Salvation Army homelessness centre with Commissioner M Owen Culshaw

The Princess Royal in 1955 at Charter Row Salvation Army homelessness centre with Commissioner M Owen Culshaw

In only four days, Mary organised the team for a first meeting in the Temperance Hall, Townhead Street (seating 2,000 people) and held weeknight church services in the Hall of Science in Rockingham Street – between February 17 and August 31, 900 people found faith. 
Ministry was not without its troubles. Salvation Army members abstained from alcohol and preached a message of hope.

Many punters were lost to publicans and violent opposition resulted, bringing the arrests of Salvationists for breach of the peace, but more often than not, violent beatings. 
In 1882 Salvation Army Founders General William and Catherine Booth visited the first Sheffield Salvation Army, triggering riots in the city. Local publicans raised a mob that viciously attacked the church.

Lieutenant Emmerson C. Davison, a former champion wrestler who had been converted to faith, had tried to ride through the mob on horseback but was beaten so badly he lay unconscious for hours and never truly recovered from his injuries. 
Three months later Salvationists held two large marches through the city centre and although there were police on hand to protect the marchers, there was no sign of any trouble. 
The interactive exhibition will be taking place on Saturday from 10am to 2 pm at The Salvation Army, 12 Psalter Lane, Sheffield S11 8YN.

The church’s Heavenly Coffee shop will be open throughout the exhibition.

The Sheffield Salvation Army young people's band in 1951

The Sheffield Salvation Army young people's band in 1951

On Sunday, the morning church service at 10.30 am will be a community celebration and all are welcome.

Sheffield Citadel Salvation Army provides a number of community services, including support to isolated older people and young families through a lunch club, a Cameo (Come And Meet Each Other) friendship group and a toddler group.

The Heavenly Coffee shop is also open Monday to Thursdayand is a safe, friendly spot in the city where people can drop in, enjoy quality coffee and chat. 

For more information, follow the church on Facebook or visit the website www.sheffieldcitadel.co.uk

Unknown Sheffield Salvation Army soldiers in the 1900s outside the minister's home in Broomfield Street

Unknown Sheffield Salvation Army soldiers in the 1900s outside the minister's home in Broomfield Street

A Salvation Army Sunday school in 1952

A Salvation Army Sunday school in 1952