Faith Matters: The Salvation Army: ‘Heart to God & Hand to Man

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

  • Pastors Captains Karen and Scott Peabody in The Salvation Army on Chapman Street. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Commanding Officers of The Salvation Army in Greenfield
Published: 8/25/2017 6:07:55 PM

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


The Salvation Army — or “Sally’s” as some who have received services call it — is a place that many know they can come to seeking refuge and assistance during times of hardship.

The Salvation Army has always been known for human services provided within the community: food through its food pantry, showers, breakfast and lunch through its feeding program, advocacy and support through case management, even Christmas or Thanksgiving assistance.

But there are other services, too: Christian-based services such as Sunday services, Bible studies, Women’s and Men’s groups, youth programs. These are all part of the holistic services provided to those in need — holistic meaning that we seek to engage and develop the whole person, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Those who may not know us probably ask, “So who are these people? How did they start? Why do they do what they do?” Those also were the questions that I once had and it was the answers to those questions that attracted me to The Salvation Army. To this date, my wife, Karen, and I have been ministering and serving others for 12 years through the Salvation Army — two of the 12 here in Greenfield.

Prior to attending The Salvation Army, I did not know much about them. I worked within the technology field and at that time I only knew The Salvation Army as a group of people that helped others. I would see them standing outside stores ringing bells during the Christmas season. That is the initial and very limited understanding I had. I did not know they were a Christian church and helping others in need was their mission. I had somehow overlooked the word “Salvation” in The Salvation Army. The more I learned about The Salvation Army and their love, compassion and faith in action, the more attracted I became to their mission and wanting to become part of The Salvation Army.


The founder of The Salvation Army was a former Methodist from London, England whose name was William Booth. This ordinary Christian man, who worked in a pawn shop, felt a calling upon his life to help others in need. He was to show his love for God by loving others, as he recalled the bible passage in Mark 12:28-31. He would go on to put this passage into action as he noticed in some areas of England at that time, a population of individuals that were in need.

These individuals had been overlooked and in some cases ignored, a population that struggled with addiction, homelessness, or hunger. A population that was “down and out,” living day to day, struggling to meet their basic needs. He felt called by God as he saw this population and their struggles. He knew they too were God’s creation and God wanted to have a relationship with them, too.

In 1865, he started a mission to do something about it: The Salvation Army. An Army for God. He use the phrase “Heart to God & Hand to Man.” He would witness his love for God by showing his faith in action. Not just speaking about God, but by being God’s hands and feet. He would go street by street, reaching out to these individuals, assisting their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For the physical and emotional needs, he would start shelters, rehabilitation centers for those addicted, food pantries and feeding programs for the hungry. As the basic needs were being met, he would teach about the love of God. He would invite everyone to a Sunday worship service. Many that attended were viewed as the most troublesome individuals in the area. They would come and hear a Bible message of hope. People’s lives were being changed physically, emotionally, transformed spiritually through the hope of Jesus Christ.

These same principles, “Heart to God, Hand to Man,” brought forth by the founder’s mission, continues today. The Salvation Army at 72 Chapman Street, to which my wife, Karen, and I have been called, is a place where all are welcomed with love and compassion. It is a place of refuge, where peace and stability can occur during times of crisis, a place of hope and direction.

But most of all, it is a place where holistic transformation occurs physically, emotionally, spiritually.

About The Salvation Army Center for Worship and Service

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.” If you are looking for a church home, perhaps you will consider giving us a try. We have a variety of programs to meet the growing needs of today’s family. We are at 72 Chapman St. in Greenfield.

Sunday services begin with Sunday school 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. All are welcome.


Commanding Officers/Pastors: Captains Scott and Karen Peabody

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