By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor
For many, the name Salvation Army recalls the sound of a ringing bell outside of a tinseled Kroger or the sight of a paper angel dangling from the branch of a Christmas tree. Major Janice Fitzgerald, who directs the Moulton Memorial Student Center on Asbury’s campus, explained that the Salvation Army is a social service program, offering disaster relief, shelter, rehabilitation services and more. However, the Salvation Army is known around the world as a church.
“We are most definitely a church,” Fitzgerald said. “Actually, in most other countries we’re known as a church. It’s only in the United Sates that we’re known primarily for social work.”
On Asbury’s campus, the Salvation Army center provides counseling, engages with campus committees, aids in student development and even provides transportation to students. For a number of Asbury students, however, the Salvation Army provides a place to call home.
Senior Sarah George, who serves as president of the Salvation Army Student Fellowship (SASF) Cabinet, said, “The Salvation Army presence on campus seeks to give students that home-away-from-home feel.”
In most other countries we’re known as a church. It’s only in the United Sates that we’re known primarily for social work.
Senior Fred Mbesi, who serves as historian on SASF cabinet, believes the SASF has achieved that goal of community. “Whether I need people to perform in a skit for the Fall Variety Show, play or sing in a musical group for my recital or even just talk to when I’m feeling crummy, the Sallies have always been willing to lend a hand however they can,” he said.
Though George and Mbesi are both members of the SASF, the homey feel and support is not relegated to members alone. Fitzgerald made it clear that the center and its spaces are available for anyone. She explained that anyone who decides to attend SASF events can become a part of the fellowship.
“It’s become something that people think is exclusive, but it’s not,” Fitzgerald said. “Anybody can be here.”
Fitzgerald said, “this building is not exclusive.” Students can use either of the two kitchens to make homemade meals, the media room to watch movies or play video games or the large gather room for parties. These facilities are offered free of charge, but reservations should be made through contacting Fitzgerald.
The building is also put to use by SASF itself. There are two big parties a year, a costume party that was held on Oct. 27 and a Super Bowl party that will be held on the day of the game. The center also hosts a visit weekend for prospective students in January. Aside from these gatherings, there are weekly opportunities to meet. Sunday nights they have a meeting at 6 p.m. and serve a meal afterwards, Wednesday nights they have music programs, and Thursday nights are family dinner nights.
Mbesi got involved with the SASF through one of the weekly meetings. “I pretty much just showed up to one of the meetings and I’ve been coming ever since,” he said.
George also cited these meetings as some of her best experiences with SASF. “Some of my favorite experiences include simply coming to the center after a rough day, sitting with some great friends and just enjoying the fellowship,” she said.