Faith Matters: A vessel to bless others

  • Capts. Scott and Karen Peabody of The Salvation Army on Chapman Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Scott and Karen Peabody of The Salvation Army on Chapman Street in Greenfield. November 21, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The Salvation Army on Chapman Street in Greenfield. August 9, 2017 Paul Franz

Commanding Officers/Pastors
Friday, December 01, 2017

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 265.)

The Salvation Army’s red kettles have become a part of Christmas tradition in many towns and cities around the world. A metal bucket attached to a chain connected to a tripod stand holding a sign that says Salvation Army is the typical configuration. A person standing next to it, usually known as “The Bell Ringer” or “Kettle Stander,” interacts with people walking by.

What is with this kettle? Why is it that these kettles are around during the Christmas season? What was its purpose?

The red kettle started in 1891, when a man by the name of Joseph McFee, a Captain/Pastor of the Salvation Army in San Francisco, Calif., felt a deep desire to provide Christmas dinners to over 1,000 people within the community. He was short the amount of funding to provide for this endeavor and through prayer, he came to a solution. He recalled a time when he was a sailor years ago in Liverpool, England. There at Stage Landing, an area where the ships docked, a large kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” was placed for those in need. People as they walked by would throw coins into the kettle in support of the mission. It was from that memory that Captain McFee started using a kettle in his campaign to raise funds to help those in San Francisco. It became successful and other Salvation Army locations across the United States used the campaign idea. In 1897, the kettle came to the Boston area. It became a nationwide campaign and the kettle became a resource to help feed 150,000 people on Christmas.

Today, the kettle campaign continues. Every year starting two weeks into the month of November and ending Christmas Eve, the Salvation Army kettles appear at locations throughout the city of Greenfield. With the goal to raise $40,000, it is a campaign that is vital to providing not only meals to those in need within the community during the holidays but to provide services throughout the year. Crisis is not seasonal. Crisis can come upon anyone at any time. We try to assist the person or persons during their time of crisis. The money raised stays within the community to provide services to all through our daily feeding program, food pantry, homeless assistance, and clothing assistance.

The bible tells us how important it is in showing our faith through deeds. James 2:14-18 says,

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

The Salvation Army is “Faith in Action.” We do because we are called by God to do. The kettles are an important part of supporting those in need within our community. It is because of the generosity of each person who gives whatever they can into the red kettle that we are able to meet those needs. You are a blessing to others. We are grateful to so many within this community each year. Whether a business, community organization, church or resident, your impact is greatly appreciated. Thank you for being “The Army behind the Army.”

About The Salvation Army Center

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church and are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. Our ministry is motivated by the love of God and our mission is simple, “Heart to God & Hand to Man.” We have a variety of programs to meet the growing needs of today’s family. We are at 72 Chapman St. in Greenfield.

Our Sunday services begin with Sunday School starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by our Sunday service at 10:45. Our services are designed for the entire family and there is always a friendly welcome. Bible studies on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. are offered with a concentration on real-life issues that confront so many of us today. All are welcome.

Website: www.salvationarmyma.org/greenfield

Commanding Officers/Pastors: Capts. Scott and Karen Peabody

Email: Scott.Peabody@use.salvationarmy.org or Karen.Peabody@use.salvationarmy.org