Christian group helps everyone in need
by William Roberts
This year’s Red Kettle Campaign has begun, the annual Christmas fundraiser that helps The Salvation Army collect money to meet human needs in local communities across the country. Each year’s campaign brings heightened media attention to The Salvation Army, particularly regarding its beliefs and practices.
In particular, we face such questions as: How does The Salvation Army help people in need? Are we a church? Perhaps most important, is the organization truly committed to serving all those in need?
The Salvation Army is a Christian organization, founded by a small group of people in London in 1865 to serve those who were suffering. They were fueled by their love of God and their belief that God was leading them to do his work on earth. The only qualification to receive help from The Salvation Army was to have a need. That has not changed in more than a century.
We serve nearly 30 million Americans in need each year, from a variety of backgrounds. We do not pick and choose whom we serve based on religion or any other factor, and no one should ever be turned away in need. The Salvation Army has doctrine and beliefs that help guide members of the church in life and on a daily basis. Many people have questioned why The Salvation Army holds certain positions on issues such as homosexuality.
This issue has created misunderstandings and confusion about The Salvation Army. This in turn has led many to think that the Salvation Army judges others and denies them services or employment. None of this is true.
The Salvation Army believes that all people are equal, regardless of
sexual orientation or any other factor, including race, gender and ethnicity. We firmly oppose the vilification and mistreatment of any
member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, just as we oppose the mistreatment of anyone. Any such incident is in clear opposition to all established Salvation Army policy.
Indeed, this promise is emphatically laid out in our organizational mission statement, which says: “The Salvation Army, an international
movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its
message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of
God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christand to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”
The Salvation Army is founded on Christian values and biblical standards, and those in need receive our assistance each year through a broad array of social services, which include food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter for the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.
Many wrongly believe The Salvation Army lobbies the federal government to deny equal opportunities to people with beliefs that differ from ours.
For more than a decade, The Salvation Army has not engaged any lobbyists, nor does the organization have any lobbyists working on its behalf nationally to lobby for particular laws or to deny liberties to any American. This is not within The Salvation Army’s moral fabric.
Notably, The Salvation Army employs more than 64,000 people from all backgrounds across the country. Employment for holders of those positions, who include social workers, senior care providers, program administrators, athletic coaches, counselors and chefs, is based solely on how well applicants meet job requirements.
Only for employees within The Salvation Army that hold religious responsibilities, such as the 3,500 Salvation Army officers who are ordained ministers in our church, do we seek those whose faith and values are consistent with our theology. In that, we are no different from any other church in America.
The Salvation Army hires the best candidate for a position and offersemployee benefits to all, equally. The Salvation Army adheres to allrelevant employment laws and provides for domestic-partner benefits accordingly.
We offer benefits to all employees and do so in much the same way that other companies and private organizations provide them.
The people who work for and volunteer with The Salvation Army aim to serve others in need, to work with people and not against anyone. Over the years,
The Salvation Army has demonstrated a consistent ability to work with and alongside individuals and organizations that may not always be in agreement with our theology.
They support us with time and financial resources because of a common cause and commitment to serve people in need.
Like Jesus, we strive to love the unloved and be compassionate to all — even when we disagree theologically. When we serve those in need, we are serving him.
To act in any other way would contradict the very reason The SalvationArmy was founded.
William Roberts is national commander for The Salvation Army.
by Taki S. Raton
Milwaukee’s own Ko-Thi Dance Company will proudly present their children’s performing ensemble, Ton-Ko-Thi this Sunday, September 16 at the Brotherhood of Black Firefighter’s Hall, 7717 West Good Hope Road beginning at 3 p.m.
Themed “Revitalization Dance Party,” this Sunday will be a Ko-Thi fundraiser and gala affair for children and adults with DJ dance music also provided. An exhibition of Ton-Ko-Thi’s training and staged performance skills will highlight the day’s events.
“We are struggling for our artistic lives,” says Adekola Adedapo, Ko-Thi’s public relations coordinator. She adds that “in the absence of a regular season, for which there are simply no funds to produce the kind of productions Milwaukee is accustomed to enjoying from Ko-Thi Dance Company, we will be sponsoring a series of these ‘revitalization’ parties that will give us an opportunity to dance and have some good old-fashion fun together, see Ton-Ko-Thi in action and give our community a chance to sign up your children and support one of the longest running African American institutions in the history of Milwaukee.”
Adedapo says that African performing arts put our children “in touch” with the ancestral heritage that gives us a direction for the future and that this “is very important for our progress as a people in a society.”
Translated as “Little Ko-Thi,” Ton Ko-Thi is the vanguard of Ko-Thi’s Dance Company’s education outreach designed to identify, nurture and develop young artistic talent as they explore African based dance and music idioms. Ranging in ages from 6 to 18-years-old, these 30-50 member youth performers are selected by yearly auditions or chosen directly from ensemble conducted studio classes.
This vibrant children’s performing troupe is included in Ko-Thi’s professional schedules. Their mission is the development of talented children, the exposure of our youth to traditional African performing arts, the stimulation of increased academic performance, the cultivation of normative social skills, and nurturing a cadre of new audiences and ensemble supporters.
“We are not done here because there are fifty young dancers waiting to be trained and anxious to perform for the Milwaukee community. They are being trained by the adult company who has turned their full attention to the development and cultivation of our youth in Ton Ko-thi,” notes Adedapo.
Founded forty-three years ago in 1969 by Ferne Yangyeitie Caulker, Ko-Thi Dance Company is a nationally and internationally acclaimed company of artists trained in the history, methodology and techniques of dance and musical art forms from within the African Diaspora. Dedicated to the preservation and performance of traditional African American and Caribbean dance and drumming, Ko-Thi offers audiences a touring gem of research, training and expertise.
Caulker is a native of Sierra Leone, West Africa. She founded Ko-Thi upon her return from a research trip where she studied with the National Dance Company of Ghana at the University of Ghana in Legon. She served as a Full Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Department of Dance where she had been teaching since 1971.
She created for her department the university’s first dance track on the techniques and history of African, African American and Caribbean dance.
In 1995, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship allowing her to spend 3 months in Tanzania, East Africa where she taught at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Contributions additionally include working with the UWASA traditional Cultural Group and providing workshops and lectures for children through the United African American Cultural Center in Arusha.
In 2001, Milwaukee’s Professional Dimensions honored her with their prestigious Sacagawea Award given annually to two outstanding women of achievement.
She has participated on numerous panels including the 1999-2000 State Superintendent’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts in Education and the Arts 2000 Dance Panel and has served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Arts Board.
The generous donation of $20 at the door this Sunday will greatly assist towards the continuation of this fantastic Milwaukee gem and the work of Ferne Caulker.
The arts are important for everyone and the survival of Ko-Thi and its prodigy, the Ton Ko-Thi children’s ensemble as an artistic expression, has meaning and significance for all of Wisconsin.
“Let’s not let our children be left behind in regards to their own culture and proud legacy.
“Becoming a part of Ton Ko-thi can really help their progress toward being involved in exploring and experience their African heritage,” says Adedapo
For additional information on Ko-Thi, Ton Ko-Thi or on this Sunday’s fundraising event, please call (414) 273-0676 or email the company at: [email protected] You may also visit their website at www.ko-thi.org.
Glide past elephants, bears and giraffes on a family bike ride that starts and ends at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s Ride on the Wild Side bicycling fundraiser is held on Sunday, Sept. 16, and is sponsored by Wheaton Franciscan-St. Joseph and the Wisconsin Heart Hospital campuses. Kids and their toy animal friends can ride in the Critter Caravan, a special 2.5-mile kids’ route through the Zoo.
The toy critters can tag along in a bike basket or backpack. More serious riders can choose from two distance routes: a 27-mile ride and a 17-mile ride. Both start at the Zoo and continue north along Menomonee River Parkway and the Oak Leaf bike trail.
And there’s more! After the ride, there’s a picnic lunch. Plus, kids and their plush pet can head to the Kids’n’ Critters Corral to grab a snack, get a temporary tattoo and do crafts. The ride includes a continental breakfast, lunch, Zoo admission, parking and a long-sleeve T-shirt.
Please see below for details.
Register online at www.zoosociety.org/bike through Sept. 5, 2012 (limited T-shirt sizes available after this date). After Sept. 5, call (414) 258-2333 to register. To get pre-registration prices, register by Sept. 14, 2012.
Walk-up registrations will be accepted on the day of the event (fees are higher and limited T-shirt sizes will be available.) Helmets are required. Zoological Society members: adults (ages 14 and over), $35; children (ages 3-13), $12; family of four, $85. Non-members; Adults, $40; children, $15; family of four, $100. Day of ride: adult, $45; child, $20.
The registration fee includes a continental breakfast, picnic lunch, a longsleeve T-shirt, Zoo admission and parking.