Local Salvation Army to undergo change of leadership, focusThe local office of the Salvation Army will soon transition into new leadership and a new approach.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The local office of the Salvation Army will soon transition into new leadership and a new approach.
Captain Ruth Gibbons, who has been assigned to the Army’s Cloquet office for the past five years, will move on to an assignment in Ottumwa, Iowa, on June 26. Her last Sunday service with the local Salvation Army will be June 23.
Gibbons came to Carlton County from Green Bay and prior to that she served in Eau Claire and a number of other locations.
“It’s amazing how the Lord works,” she commented. “Before I came here I would never have envisioned working in Minnesota, but here I am and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Gibbons said she will work in a larger market area in Ottumwa, a city of some 27,000 people. She said the Salvation Army there has a thrift store, an adopted church and social services agency.
Following Gibbons’ departure, the local Salvation Army will no longer have its own church and will instead concentrate on its thrift store and social services operations. Gibbons explained the local congregation that attended church at the Salvation Army had dwindled in recent years, and there weren’t enough people invested in keeping it going.
“It will still be a Christian organization,” she affirmed, “because the spiritual component is what the Army is all about.”
She said the trend [away from holding its own church services] is something that’s happening with the Salvation Army in a number of other communities, primarily those with their own strong network of traditional Christian churches. She added that anyone who wishes to attend Salvation Army church services in the future should feel free to attend in Duluth.
Gibbons said the plan for the local Salvation Army moving forward will be to pursue more casework with the members of the public who access its services, through an initiative called “Gateway to Hope.”
“With the food program getting bigger and more people in need,” explained Gibbons, “the Army plans to get more involved in its clients’ lives.”
She said “Gateway to Hope” takes a holistic approach by working with other agencies to help address the issues faced by those accessing the Army’s services.
“It’s a case of putting more of an investment into their lives in order to more greatly empower them,” she stated.
The new program will likely start with one or two families, with a goal of helping them to succeed, before it is expanded to a broader basis.
An opening for Gibbons’ replacement in Cloquet has been posted, though no final candidate has yet been selected.