The Church Army is a mission community of people who are transforming lives and neighbourhoods throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland and across the world. It is committed to bringing people to a living faith in Jesus Christ by sharing the Christian faith in words and action and enabling the wider church to do so.
The CA’s vision centres around the DARE strategy with the aim of growing its impact nationwide and seeing God’s kingdom extended. It is made up of four strands:
Church Army was founded in 1882 by Wilson Carlile with a vision to train ordinary Christian men and women to reach those most in need with the gospel. Carlile started to hold open air gatherings where he would encourage grooms, coachmen and other working people to share their faith in both words and action. As Church Army grew Carlile also focused the charity’s work on the slums of Westminster – one of the darkest spots in London. In 1883 Church Army was officially recognised by the Church of England.
The work continued to develop with the opening of training colleges (starting in Oxford) to train Christian men and women to share their Christian faith, to work with people living in the slums, to provide residential care for men and women, and to work alongside people in prison. Criticized for its unorthodox approach, Wilson Carlile commented “We do not seek to drag the Church of England into the mud but to bring some of the social mud into the church.”
As we mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War it is good to reflect on the part that Church Army played in it, including the provision of much-needed recreation huts for the armed forces, many of which were adjacent to the trenches. At their peak these huts welcomed more than 200,000 men each day. Alongside this Church Army also operated ambulances, mobile canteens and kitchen cars.
Today Church Army is a world wide family made up of nine independent Church Army societies; in Africa, Australia, Barbados, Canada (called Threshold Ministries), Jamaica, New Zealand, USA, UK and Ireland and Vanuatu. These nine societies work in more than 20 different countries. Each society lives out the calling of the founder, Wilson Carlile, to reach out to those outside the church with the good news of Jesus Christ, to serve the poor and to resource the wider church in evangelism.
For further information please visit Church Army’s website at http://www.churcharmy.org.uk