The Salvation Army began as a ministry to the unchurched. In 1865, William Booth, former Methodist pastor and now an independent evangelist, aided by his wife Catherine, began to preach in the slums of London's East End. It was not his plan to establish a church, but when he attempted to send converts to local churches, they did not feel at home because of their poor appearances. In order to provide places of worship for these converts, William and Catherine Booth established Christian Mission Centers. In addition to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Booth became involved in the feeding and sheltering of the hungry and homeless and in rehabilitation of alcoholics.
In 1878, under the name, "The Salvation Army," these centers assumed a military character and Booth took the title of General. Ministers became "Officers," members were called "Soldiers," and the mission centers were called "Corps." The Army's work in the United States started in 1879 and came to Chattanooga in 1893. On March 16, 1893, District Officer J. C. Smith arrived in the Scenic City. The next day he greeted Chattanoogans with these timely words, "We (come) with peace, charity and goodwill toward everyone, and we trust we shall succeed in doing good."
Today, The Salvation Army continues to share the Good News while 'doing the most good' to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and the hopeless. Its ministry touches millions of lives every day. The Salvation Army is active in 126 countries, and is preaching the gospel in over 160 languages. It is the policy of The Salvation Army to suit its programs to the varying needs of people throughout the world. The sun never sets on the work and ministry of The Salvation Army.