Prince George Corps Celebrates 100 Years of Service


Throughout the Scriptures, there are records of monuments erected to commemorate significant events. Abraham built an altar to the Lord to commemorate God’s promise (Genesis 12:7). Jacob, when wrestling with God and re-encountering his brother, built an altar to the Lord (Genesis 33:20). Solomon had the Temple of the Name of the Lord built, the details of which are recorded in 1 Kings 6.

Today, people still raise monuments intended to remember significant events. Nearly every Canadian town and city host a cenotaph to remember those who sacrificed themselves to serve in times of conflict and peace in Canada’s armed forces. Buildings such as town halls and churches represent the pride of a community while museums, galleries, and park installations all speak of important historical events that should rightly be remembered.

So too do we as Salvationists want to commemorate the mighty works of God throughout our history. This year, the Prince George Corps is celebrating its 100th year of service in the community – and there is much to celebrate! God has demonstrated His faithfulness time and time again in the lives and ministry of the officers, soldiers, adherents, friends, and volunteers serving in the community. Unlike the imposing beauty of a great building or the timeless shapes of a bronze statue, God has memorialized His faithfulness in the hearts and lives of people. For example, Beth* is a retired health care worker. She retired early because of her own health care concerns but found that she had trouble filling her days with meaningful activities – after all, you can only play solitaire so many times in one day.  Beth came to The Salvation Army to explore how she can volunteer her time and also make a difference in the community. Now, Beth spends three days per week volunteering in the food bank, repackaging bulk food items for distribution to households in need. “Even though I don’t get to see the faces of the people that we are supporting, I find so much joy in knowing that the work that I am doing is changing lives. Best of all, The Salvation Army makes provisions for my disability so that I can serve every week.”

“There’s lots of help in the community,” says David*, one of the guests that visits The Salvation Army for support on a regular basis. “The difference with The Salvation Army is that they care about you – and not just with their words. It’s great to be able to meet with the chaplain and talk about the stresses of life and find support to make little changes.”  David is one of so many that The Salvation Army is privileged to journey through the seasons of life. Little by little, David has been able to make successive small changes that are have a cumulative impact on his life. Last month, David didn’t need to visit the food bank at all because he had everything that he needed to support himself. He still made contact to let us know he was doing all right, though.

John* moved to Prince George from a small Northern British Columbia community to find work because his hometown didn’t provide many opportunities or prospects in his career of choice. He has all his belongings in his car with him, but still hasn’t found a job. He wants to support himself and doesn’t want to live in the local shelter, so he has decided to live in his car.

Early in January, Major Neil noticed a car parked in the Corps parking lot late one evening. Approaching the car, he introduced himself to John and learned of his story. “John’s immediate concern was whether or not he could sleep in his car in The Salvation Army parking lot,” said Major Neil. “He didn’t need anything, only permission to use our property.” Of course, with winter cold a concern, Major Neil went to the thrift store, gathered up an electric heater and an extension cord, and brought them to John. Now John has a way to keep warm and safe without running his engine plugged in to the building at the Corps. John and Major Neil continue to get to know each other and John keeps watch over the Corps building through the night. “Sometimes the kindness of Jesus that we show is honouring the choices that people make and loving unconditionally,” says Major Neil.

Sonya* is a quiet girl of 15 that doesn’t have many friends. She is the kind of girl that has three or four really close friends and shies away from too many boisterous people. She comes from a broken family whose dad left her and her mother. She finds Christian family at The Salvation Army, where she not only found Jesus as her Lord and Saviour but has also found a creative outlet for worship as part of the S. O. UL. dance troop. “dance is a great way to worship – and it’s fun and gives me something to do,” says Sonya. “Sometimes its really hard and my friends at S. O. UL. help me cope with life.”

Terra was a social worker for the government and heard rumors about the work that The Salvation Army was doing to journey with people in need – and not all the rumors were positive. So, rather than basing her opinion on hearsay, she decided that she was going to find out for herself what The Salvation Army food bank was all about. She called Major Neil to set up a time to come and tour the food bank and get an understanding of the work of the organization, see that work in action, and better understand the support that The Salvation Army was providing to the community. That was over six years ago. Now, Terra has left her government job and has been serving as the Community Ministries Supervisor, convinced that God has called and equipped her to serve in His name for this season of her life. Moreover, she and her family have become members of The Salvation Army, worshipping, and serving through the Corps. “I never imagined that the phone call those many years ago would have such a profound affect on my family and myself – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” says Terra.

There are substantial and significate monuments commemorating what God has done through the work of The Salvation Army in Prince George – all found in the faces of the lives touched by His faithful servants responding to the constant call to Give Hope Today.


Written by Major Neil Wilkinson

*names have been changed to secure the identity of the people involved.