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Abstracts Of Papers Presented To The Internet Conference:
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Abstracts Of Papers Presented To The Internet Conference:

The Salvation Army and the Poor

The full text of the papers together with formal responses and discussion is available on:

Keynote address:

The Call to the Excluded: General John Gowans
The paper focuses on the phenomenon of social exclusion, the submerged tenth of society, the focus both at the Army’s beginning and now. Some Salvationists seem to have forgotten the poor who are among the excluded, but on the whole the Army has not deserted its calling, but we need to do more. There is a concluding challenge.


Theme 1 – A Historical Review of The Salvation Army and the Poor:

Lessons from our recent history, with special reference to IHQ Development Services: Major Seth Le Leu
The paper examines the Army’s activities in poverty alleviation in the developing world. Approaches have evolved from the ‘technical fix’ of the early 80s to the current emphasis on communities finding solutions to their own problems. Integrated development creates sustainable, just human community. Analysis of Salvation Army funding shows no correlation with the economic status of the recipient country. We need to ‘wait and hear’, to allow the poor to be in the driving seat of anything that affects their lives, and to be involved in political and economic reform.

Impact of Casteism, tribalism and clan on poverty: Major Lalngaihawmi
The group, not the individual, is the primary building block of tribal societies. Building relationships is more important than completing tasks. Interdependence is a strength that has supported survival. Caste can lead to grinding injustice, with resultant attempts at emancipation.

Race, racism and the poor: A/Capt Robert E Hendricks
Writing from the experience of Apartheid the writer highlights the uniqueness of South African poverty, the result of deliberate, racist policy with resultant inequity between rich and poor. He describes how Salvation Army programmes followed government policies, largely because of available funding, with previously disadvantaged communities remaining disadvantaged. The Army’s top-down structures work against empowerment of the poor.

Evolving Salvationist Identity: Captain Stewart Grinsted
Has Salvationist identity evolved? It is rooted in that meaningful event where God again proclaims to people in poverty, oppressed by it, broken by it, that he hears, he sees, he saves. It has become timid, reactive, revisionist, selective and calculating. It lacks a comprehensive agenda of compassion for the poor. It must involve a serious evaluation and ability to change, conforming always to the attitude that was in Christ.

Alcohol and Poverty: Lt Col Paul Bollwahn
Alcohol abuse will usually be found at the centre of a poverty culture, either as cause or escape. Booth saw alcoholism as a disease, with personal and societal causes, the former addressed by conversion, the latter by social action and public advocacy. Two questions that emerge: Can the Army offer a more genuine level of inclusion and care than is available when people meet? Do saved alcoholics have a special ministry?

Salvation Army Music and the Poor: Colonel Robert Redhead
The pre-reformation church largely ignored or denied musical talents and appreciation of the poor. Luther and others, including Booth, recognised the educative power of songs. Booth said SA music was to be functional, serving the mission. It arose from the people, for the people and by the people. Since then Army music has lost its roots, due to ‘social lift’, rigid regulations and a refusal to share its music. In consequence it has failed to meet the needs of and give expression to the poor.


Theme 2: The Experience of Poverty

Searching for a Meaningful Way to Help the Poor: Rev Glenn Schwartz
Schwartz describes the poor as people without ‘margin’, for whom life is reduced to mere survival. After sharing practical illustrations of involvement with the poor in church communities, he concludes that the primary emphasis in the struggle against poverty should be on spiritual transformation and overcoming dependency, by promoting healthy Spirit-led self-reliance.

Educate, Inform and Entertain – Broadcasting and the Community: Mr Karl Larsson
The writer suggests that the Army could use broadcasting to give a voice to the marginalized and the poor, especially through community radio. This would require de-politicised broadcasting, but could be a vehicle for economic and political change as part of the struggle against conditions that create exclusion.

Finding Hope through Community Development: Dr Ian Campbell
A viable framework for poverty reduction starts from within the experience of people in poverty. We need to start with people. Our approach should be demand-driven, starting with the experiences of the poor and not the demands of donors. Information and Communication Technology can play a role in capacity development by helping communities visualise processes of change.

Poverty and Information and Communication Technology: Dr Austen Rainer
ICT can have positive and negative consequences for the poor. It can provide education and information, but it can divide the haves and have-nots. The poor are easily excluded because of educational status and lack of access. The Army may be able to provide this medium to the poor, but they must be involved in decisions aimed at alleviating their poverty.

Intermediate Technology: Lt Col Roland Sewell
Intermediate, or appropriate technology can provide new ways of improving the quality of life through the use of local resources. The technology must not be imposed and resources must not be exploited or diminished. The principles are applicable in SA corps or centre in developed and developing communities, using a ‘self-help’ approach, starting from where the community are, building on local resources and skills, and moving forward according to desires and capacity.

Theme 3: Upholding Spiritual Values in Poverty and When Emerging from Poverty

Impact of Poverty in Rural Communities in Tanzania: Oswald Malunda
The writer shares some of the pain of those caught in the trap of poverty - lack of sufficient income in cash or kind to meet the most basic needs of food and shelter. Lack of water, illiteracy, commercial sex work, child prostitution, rural migration together with war, endemic drought, disasters, HIV/Aids, alcohol and drug abuse, poor education, subjugation, laziness, indifference, unemployment, injustice are causes mentioned. Stakeholders must be involved in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of poverty alleviation strategies.

The Psyche of Poverty: Captain Charles Roberts
There is no single psyche, but rather a host of emotions, experiences, systemic and personalogical blockages to advocacy and development opportunities occur in differing degrees. The Army was born out of poverty and is still married to it. It needs to develop its own language of poverty. He urges Salvationists to see Jesus in the street. As we become more like him we recognise our poverty and are drawn closer to the poor.

Lifestyle and Good News for the Poor: Ms Alison Rader
The paper addresses a variety of Christians – the rich, the poor and those with money to spend. Materialism breaks relationships, because having becomes more important than relationships. There are sins of relationships: living against, without, above or below another person.

War, Violence, TSA and the Poor: Mr Edy Kanda
Writing from Congo Brazzaville, the writer includes the unscrupulous desire for power and control of wealth among the reasons for war. But there is also the desire to be free of slavery, caste and racial segregation, which may precipitate war. Conflict leads to starvation, ill-health and loss. He calls on the Army to denounce the evils of oppression that may cause war, to provide immediate short-term relief and to build on the innate fortitude of people which enables them to face each new day with hope.

Key Moral Issues in Wealth and Poverty: Dr Jim Read
The paper presents an outline of the key ethical issues that need to be considered with guidance as to how these may be addressed. These include matters of finance and funding. The section on ‘love and justice’ includes the questions: Is relief of global poverty a work of love? Is the relief of global poverty demanded by justice?

Gender Issues and the Poor: Lt Col Birgitte Brekke
The paper includes reasons why NGOs target women in various programmes. The way forward is summarised as: women with a voice; women with suggestions that are being listened to and respected; women involved in matters relating to them and their family; women making decisions.

Family Life and the Poor: Major Kabita Sahu
The writer lists a number of factors that can contribute to a family moving away from poverty. These include: family planning, child and adult education, cottage industries and skills training. She regards these as responsibilities of the family to overcome poverty.


Theme 4: A Look at Poverty in the Context of Global Economics Today.

A Look at Poverty in the Context of Global Economics Today: Mr Gordon Knowles
The paper outlines what globalisation is. It acknowledges some potential benefits, but describes its undesirable social consequences, including greater inequality between countries, greater impoverishment, greater vulnerability to social risk and social exclusion, decreased social welfare, rising debt and disruption of indigenous culture. It suggests that TSA is itself a trans-national enterprise, with too great an emphasis on replication. It needs to develop a policy on globalisation, which will be linked to a review of the Army’s apolitical stand and a commitment to advocacy.

Children are Especially Poor: Captain Sara Chagas
The writer presents a picture of Utopia, but then refers to the impoverishment of children world-wide. Children in developed countries experience family break-down, sexual exploitation, institutional, community and family abuse and exclusion. Children in developing countries experience all of these plus much more. She joins Mandela’s call to put children at the centre of the world’s agenda, and proposes working with the family, with the family-less and with society.

The Salvation Army and International Debt Relief: Mr Allan Bacon
The paper reviews the history of indebtedness of the poorest nations and the ethical issues this raises. It proceeds to point out how attempts to deal with this through repayment, rescheduling, reduction or forgiveness transfers the burden to those least able to bear it. At the same time creditor countries are guaranteed repayment. The Army gave muted support to the Jubilee 2000 campaign, but should take a stronger stand on the issue.

Challenges of Homelessness: Mr Ross Richards and Major Campbell Roberts
The authors quote Tosi: ‘ …to have no home is an extreme expression of exclusion, ….’ Home is a basic requirement to be met irrespective of whether the lack is due to external crisis (war, natural disaster etc), relationship and social disintegration or structural failure within and by society. They call on the Army to affirm policies to provide shelter and housing in places of need, bearing in mind the causes of homelessness.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers are Poor: Colonel Teresa Tuck
The paper reveals the writer’s deep passion, emerging from personal experience in Johannesburg. Refugees have to overcome suspicion and rejection – ‘unwanted by your own and unwanted by those from whom asylum is sought.’ The Army’s work in this field is acknowledged, but acceptance is not always a reality, and compassion is not as evident as it should be.

Land for the Poor: Major Annah Karengesha
Availability of land is not just an economic or social issue but can be affected by political decisions. If the poor are to benefit from the availability of land they also need agricultural skills, equipment and seed. Local infrastructure must also ensure adequate water and other facilities to sustain the community.

Missionary Strategy and Ministry to the Poor: Lt Col Herb Rader
The paper reviews the emergence of Booth’s ministry to the poor, regarding the expanding social work as part of the ‘Salvation Army proper’. Booth created a place of acceptance and belonging for converts. Missionary strategy was motivated by compassion, but it did not emerge directly from a concern for the poor. If there is a close connection between mission strategy and ministry to the poor it is that Booth understood the need to become poor in order to reach the poor, and that Booth-Tucker and others were willing to do this. Reaching the poor requires hard work and personal identification – incarnational ministry, and not just a transfer of resources.


Theme 5: A Review of Salvation Army Programmes and Policies To Date

The Deformation of the Gift: Lt Col Ann Woodall
The paper quotes Amartya Sen who pleads for a proper understanding of what could be lost and who could be affected by the enforced implementation of economic efficiency or orthodoxy. All sections of society (not just the socially privileged) should be involved in decisions that affect them. People should be regarded as agents rather than patients, focusing on capability deprivation rather than only on income poverty. In most gifts there is an element of sacrifice, prestige, social control and strengthening of relationships. To what extent are these involved in the international transfer of Salvation Army funds?

An American Perspective on Donor Expectations and Project Allocation: Major Harden White
The author reviews the development of SAWSO and its commitment to holistic mission alongside the generosity of the American public, among whom are some who regard themselves as poor. SASWO has been subject to a process of policy change. This has included a shift from relief to development, networking, the use of development language, a community-generated reporting system and a challenge to the Church to rediscover its mission of holistic development and incarnate gospel to the marginalized people affected by globalisation.

Enterprise Development: Captain Jan Risan
The author calls for initiatives to stabilize the finances of the grant-aided territories by supported enterprise development. This support will include professional competence in several areas: Salvation Army principles, organizational competence, legislation, marketing and management. Care must be taken that the Army’s reputation both in the supporting and recipient territories should not be weakened. He challenges the worldwide Army to use its competencies in reaching out to the grant-aided territories.

Fundraising, Promotional Policies and the Poor: Major Dina Ismael
The paper outlines the purpose of a PR Department: ‘to manage the communication between The Salvation Army and the public, and provide financial support for its vital community work’. A territory should develop its fundraising structure, policy and practice. This must include understanding of donor development philosophy. A range of activities will help build relationships. These include education and encouragement of the donors. Promotional materials are important for communicating the needs and achievements.

Education and the Poor: Commissioner Helen Clifton and Major Leela David
The paper highlights how the poor, particularly benefited from the education programmes run by The Army. Testimonies similar to those narrated in the paper by several Pakistani girls can be heard from thousands of men and women who have benefited from several Asian and African countries. Education and care in the homes and hostels provided by The Army has helped thousands of poor families to come out of poverty.

Micro-Credit: Changing the Face of Poverty: Colonel Mary Elvin
Illustrating with examples, the author explains how micro credit makes a difference to poor and desperate people. The small loans enable the poor to commence income-generating schemes and repay the loans. Through Mustard Seed Project UK Territory has helped many in African and Asian countries.

Emergency Services & the Poor: Captain John Kumar
The writer explains, using examples, how poor people try to come out of poverty through cooperative ventures. These can be affected by natural disasters, sometimes leading to debt. The poor suffer most in disasters as the poorly constructed assets like houses are destroyed. Both short and long-term assistance measures are needed.

Health Services and the Poor: Dr Ian Campbell
The paper points out how Health Services, by working with families and communities, can bring change in their attitudes and behaviour. This in turn will contribute to healthy life styles, team spirit, community action, capacity development, community driven initiatives, participation, mutual accountability, spiritual sensitivity etc.


Bible Studies: Colonel Keith Banks
The aim of these studies is to provide a theological context for the discussion about poverty; to aid understanding of poverty; to assist in the formulation of a new strategy for ministry to the poor; for positive action on behalf of the poor. The leader focused on Exodus 3: 7: I have seen the misery of my people, I have heard them crying, I am concerned about their suffering’. The psalmist develops an understanding of how God acts, understanding the oppression of the poor, and the behaviour of the oppressor. The studies conclude with reflections on how Jesus demonstrated this concern.

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