The Salvation Army (TSA) is a Christian church and an international charitable organisation. The organisation reports a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents collectively known as Salvationists. Its founders sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute, and hungry by meeting both their "physical and spiritual needs". It is present in 132 countries, running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless and disaster relief, and humanitarian aid to developing countries.
The theology of the Salvation Army is derived from that of Methodism, although it is distinctive in institution and practice. A peculiarity of the Army is that it gives its clergy titles of military ranks, such as "lieutenant" or "major". It does not celebrate the rites of Baptism and Holy Communion. However, the Army's doctrine is otherwise typical of holiness churches in the Wesleyan–Arminian tradition. The Army's purposes are "the advancement of the Christian religion ... of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole".The Army was founded in 1865 in London by one-time Methodist preacher William Booth and his wife Catherine as the East London Christian Mission, and can trace its origins to the Blind Beggar tavern. In 1878, Booth reorganised the mission, becoming its first General and introducing the military structure which has been retained as a matter of tradition. Its highest priority is its Christian principles. The current international leader of The Salvation Army and chief executive officer (CEO) is General Brian Peddle, who was elected by the High Council of The Salvation Army on 3 August 2018.
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