by Scott Hurula
In 2017 the Metropolitan Division undertook a process to envision and implement a strategic realignment and restructuring of its ministries for greater mission effectiveness. Input was gathered from officers, soldiers, staff and volunteers. Eventually, Hope-Strong emerged.
Since its launch in May 2018, Hope-Strong, an integrated ministry model, has made a significant difference in the Metropolitan Division as corps, institutions and the divisional headquarters collaborate to advance the Army’s holistic mission of “saving souls, growing saints and serving suffering humanity” without discrimination.
The vision is to see growing, healthy corps, excellent, mission-driven social service programs and communities where The Salvation Army is regarded as a leader in bringing social, economic and spiritual change.
For this to become a reality, we have found we must collaborate in our practices and policies. It has required a commitment to building trust, breaking down silos, investing energy and creativity, and taking risks to solve unyielding problems.
When a fire devastated a condominium community and displaced hundreds of people, the emergency disaster services response was augmented by multiple divisional headquarters departments, volunteers from nearby corps and community members who engaged in bringing hope and healing.
When a polar vortex wrapped Chicago in its icy grip and the city government called on the Harbor Light to provide ‘round-the-clock service, they were aided by other Salvation Army units in order to meet the need.
Men, who courageously rebuild their lives and families, are touched simultaneously by the ministries of the Adult Rehabilitation Center, the Chicago Temple Corps and the Hope-Strong Fatherhood in Action program.
Families who are experiencing homelessness are welcomed by the Shield of Hope, placed for extended housing at the Booth Lodge and included in summer day camp and youth programs by the Evanston, Ill., Corps.
Staff of the STOP-IT anti-human trafficking ministry intentionally connect their clients with resources offered by area corps and provide training to corps officers, employees and soldiers so that they are better equipped to raise awareness and care for their neighbors who are impacted by this modern-day scourge.
Moved to action by a tour of urban ministries, soldiers of the Norridge Citadel Corps collected and assembled supplies for personal hygiene kits to share with those in need.
We are hoping to see more and more individuals embracing the Army’s mission and using their spiritual gifts, talents, resources and experiences to change lives as Hope-Strong continues to take root. Through this more integrated approach, we aim to be a powerful expression of God’s love, mercy and justice to the people and communities we are called to serve.