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Glossary of terms


A person who regards The Salvation Army as his/ her spiritual home but has not chosen to make the commitment of 'soldiership' in The Salvation Army (see Soldier).

Articles of War (Soldier's Covenant):

The statement of beliefs and promises which every intending soldier is required to sign before enrolment.

'Blood and Fire':

The Salvation Army's motto, referring to the symbolism of the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ and the purifying, illuminating fire of the Holy Spirit.


A Salvationist undertaking theological and practical training for officership. The first cadets were trained in 1879.


A soldier who has been accepted for officer training.

Chief of the staff:

The second-in-command officer of the worldwide Salvation Army.


A dated term referring to any property used for Salvation Army worship. Similar in usage to the terms 'fortress' and 'temple'. In a similar vein, 'quarters' (still in common usage) refers to the house provided for Salvation Army officers, their spouses and their families.


A smaller type of Salvation Army 'territory' (see Territory) directed by a designated 'Officer Commanding'.


A document conferring authority (that often, consequently, is presented in a conferring ceremony) upon an officer, or upon a local unpaid officer, i.e. secretary, treasurer, bandmaster etc.


Central gatherings held in divisions, regions, territories or internationally, attended by officers and their fellow Salvationists.


A Salvation Army church similar in concept to that of other churches' 'parishes', sometimes comprising several congregations, to share the good news about Jesus Christ and serve the community.

Corps cadet:

A young Salvationist who undertakes a course of Bible study, Salvation Army doctrine and history, and practical training in his/her corps.

Corps sergeant-major:

Similar to the chief 'elder' or lay leader in other Christian denominations, the CSM is the chief local officer for public work who assists the corps officer (CO) with meetings (worship services) and usually takes command and responsibility in the CO's absence.


See Salvation Army Symbols.

Dedication service:

The Salvation Army's equivalent to a christening service, it consists of a public presentation of infants to God. It differs from christening or infant baptism in that the main emphasis is upon specific vows made by the parent/s concerning the child's/childrens upbringing.


A number of corps grouped together, directed by a divisional commander (similar in responsibility and administrative role to bishops in other churches).


See Salvation Army Symbols.


The officer elected (by the High Council) to lead the international Salvation Army. All appointments are made, and all regulations issued, under the General's authority.

High Council:

A group called together on a needs-basis, the High Council elects the General in accordance with the Salvation Army Act 1980.The High Council comprises the Chief of the Staff, all active (as opposed to retired) commissioners except the spouse of the General, and all territorial commanders. The first High Council was call to determine the Generalship following Bramwell Booth's tenure in that position.

Home League:

Inaugurated in 1907, the Home League is a fellowship group designed to influence women in the creation and development of Christian standards in personal home life. Its motto is from the Bible: 'I will live a pure life in my house' (Psalm 101:2b, Good News Bible). While the Home League's demographic profile has been altered by modern lifestyles in Western countries, as more and more women have entered the work force on a full-time basis, the groups continue to provide community and a sense of belonging to many women in many countries.

International Headquarters (IHQ):

IHQ, based in London, England, is the centre where the business connected with commanding the worldwide Army is transacted.

International Secretary:

An officer appointed by the General to supervise and represent Army work (mostly overseas) at International Headquarters.

Junior Soldier:

A boy or girl who, having come to faith in Christ and signed the junior soldier's promise, is enrolled as a Salvationist.

League of Mercy/Community Care Ministries:

Commenced in 1892 as the League of Mercy, Community Care Ministries - on a worldwide basis - seeks to respond to spiritual and social needs through visitation in the community in which it is located. It is based on Christ's injuction, 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' (Matthew 25:40, New International Version).

Local Officer:

A soldier appointed to a position of responsibility and authority in the corps; who carries out the duties of the appointment without being separated from his/her regular employment/lifestyle or receiving remuneration from The Salvation Army.

Mercy Seat, Penitent Form or Holiness Table:

A bench or table provided as a place where people can kneel to pray, seeking salvation or sanctification, or making a special consecration of their life to God's will and service. This piece (or combination) of furniture is usually located between the platform and main area of Army halls in much the same way as other Christian churches place altars, as a focal point to remind worshippers of God's reconciling, redeeming presence.


A Salvationist who, responding to God's call, is trained and commissioned as a full-time minister of religion of The Salvation Army.


A locality in which Army work is carried on and where it is hoped a society or corps will develop.

Promotion to glory:

The Army's description of the death of Salvationists, with 'glory' symbolising life after death in God's presence.

Ranks of officers:

Ranks of officers currently in use are as follows: lieutenant, captain, major, lieut-colonel, colonel, commissioner, general.

Red Shield:

See Salvation Army Symbols.

Red Shield Appeal:

An annual financial appeal to the general public in many countries, to fund The Salvation Army's social work.

SAGALA (Salvation Army Guards and Legion Association):

A branch of work with children in and out of The Salvation Army's worshipping community, similar to girl guides/boy scouts. There are various equivalents for both sexes, in several age groups.


The work of grace which God accomplishes in a repentant person whose trust is in Jesus Christ. The deeper experience of this grace, known as holiness or sanctification, is the outcome of wholehearted commitment to God.


A person who is 'converted', i.e. came to faith in Jesus Christ. Soldiers must be at least 14 years of age and meet with the approval of the census board.They are sworn-in after signing the articles of war.


The public enrolment of Salvation Army soldiers.


A country, part of a country or several countries combined, in which Salvation Army work is organised under a territorial commander.

The Salvation Army Medical Fellowship:

This group was first instituted by Mrs General Minnie Carpenter, the wife of General George Carpenter, in 1943. The fellowship tries to address the challenges illness and disease place on the medical, physical and emotional resources of medical personnel. In many Salvation Army territories and commands, the members of the fellowship work with HIV/AIDS victims, in integrated medical mission endeavours.

The Order of the Founder:

This order of merit marks meritorious Christian example and witness, and distinguished or memorable service. It was instituted in 1917 (five years after Founder William Booth” was “promoted to glory”) by General Bramwell Booth. In Bramwell's words, the order was conceived “to recognise Salvationists who had rendered distinguished service, such as would have especially commended itself to the Founder”. This honour is rarely given, as every nomination is carefully scrutinised by a panel of senior leaders at IHQ. Retired Salvation Army officer Brigadier Victor Pedersen MBE, an Australian Salvationist, was a recent “admittee”, in 1999. The brigadier, among other noteworthy achievements: pioneered the first Outback Flying Padre Service; commenced Salvation Army work in Darwin (capital city of Australia's Northern Territory) and Bangladesh; commenced Bible studies for prisoners and served in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The order of the Silver Star:

Inaugurated in the USA in 1930, and extended internationally in 1936, this order expresses gratitude to parents of commissioned officers in The Salvation Army.


See Salvation Army Symbols.

War Cry:

The Salvation Army's official flagship journal, many issues of which are published in many countries. The War Cry was first published in 1879.

Women's Ministries:

Based on the Army's international women's organisation, the Home league, women's ministries throughout the world seek to provide a program of meetings and activities with a fourfold aim: worship, education, fellowship and service.

Young People's Sergeant Major:

A local officer responsible for the young people's work, under the commanding officer.