by Jack Gibson
Calvary Episcopal Church, together with hundreds of other churches and volunteer organizations, engages in a wonderful and rewarding ministry each Christmas season: Ringing the Bells for the Salvation Army. We have been doing this for six years, first “ringing” on the two Fridays closest to Christmas. This year we expanded out efforts to “ring” every Friday between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
Each Calvary volunteer rang for an hour and a half—some ring with their partner or children. Each year we have been assigned to the Kroger store in Poplar Plaza. Parents have discovered that “ringing” is a wonderful way to introduce their children to ‘the joy of giving” at an early age. As we ring, people of all shades and color and dress come by and drop coins and dollars into the red kettle, some with a wide smile and cheerful greeting, some hesitantly, as I used to do. And some share their story, always a simple story: the Salvation Army saved my life.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London by William Booth, a Methodist minister who chaffed under the traditional “methods” of his church—it did not allow him to reach the neediest among us. He became a “street preacher” and more evangelistic. He wanted to help “the least of these my children.” (Matthew 25:40) The rest of his life he was led by his belief that “all human life is sacred and that human beings, however wretched, can become a new person in Christ.” So the Army became involved in rehabilitation, disaster relief, operating thrift shops, and today is recognized around the world as the most cost-efficient model offering hope to the needy. Come join us next year in this outreach ministry.
The parishioners who “rang the bells” this year are: Karyn Bondi with children Zoe and Kyle, Jamie Cochran, Suzanne Henley & Jim Cole, Sam Cole, Ed Crenshaw, Madge & Whit Deacon, Lydia & Jack Gibson, Len Grice, Philip Haines, Nonie Leopard, Jim Martin, Pat Morgan, Michael Nelson, Mike Nelson, Robert Oates, Ebet Peeples with daughter Ella, Clayton Peeples with son Jack, Laurence Ritter, David Rupke with children Rosie, Marilla and Edward, Marty Speak, Noell Wilson with children Elliott, Winnie and Hugh, and Anna Kathryn Word with son Harry.