BEHIND THE BELL – First Day of Ringing


Observations from 12 Days of Ringing the Kettle Bell for the Salvation Army
My first day of ringing the kettle bell brought memories. Without my being aware, the Salvation Army had been a presence throughout my life; from early childhood to college years and up to the present day.
One of my earliest Christmas memories was of carolers dressed in true Dickens’ style, singing in beautiful harmony around the bright red kettle. Although sometimes intimidating, it was a big deal to be able to put a few coins in. It made me feel grownup. It began a life-long tradition of adding something to nearly every kettle I passed.
While attending Olivet Nazarene College (now, University), I met Salvation Army soldiers there for regional training. I learned of the military-like structure behind the Methodist organization. It’s also when I learned of their emergency relief efforts, locally and abroad. Whenever there was a local house fire, the Salvation Army soldiers were on the scene, with drinks and sandwiches, offering assistance to the victims and emergency workers alike. Without drawing attention to themselves, they are present around the globe, where ever and whenever a crisis strikes, offering emergency relief, quickly and quietly, with a servant-like spirit.
In the here and now, my Christmas spirit seemed hard to find, I also found myself needing to be involved in meaningful outreach. I decided to contact the local chapter of the Salvation Army. It turned out to be the right choice. They were desperate for bell ringers. They asked if I would consider ringing on a regular basis for them this season, beyond the few hours of volunteer ringing I had originally considered. Their need for “cheerful ringers” was great.
On my first day of ringing, the store management noticed my “cheerful attitude.”
It was true. I had found my Christmas Spirit. And the Salvation Army helped yet another…
Do you have a Salvation Army story to share? Contributions encouraged;-)
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“While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, I’ll fight; while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, I’ll fight; where there yet remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight — I’ll fight to the very end.” On his eighty-third birthday, William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, was able to enjoy a large celebration in his honor. In May 1912, he addressed ten thousand people in Albert Hall, his last public appearance. They heard the bent and nearly blind old man speak the words above. 

This series was originally posted in 2013 and is being repeated by request.



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