Recent History – 2000
Oct. 2, 2000, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Bill Luttrell, the recently appointed Salvation Army Commander for Canada, knows that the movement’s work extends well beyond helping the downtrodden living in the inner cities — which is why he paid a visit Friday to the Peace.
“Wherever we have people I think you’ll find that needs exist and that’s a reality of life and that’s where the Salvation Army is,” he said during a visit to the Salvation Army Church in Dawson Creek.
The stopover is part of a tour that has also taken Luttrell, and his wife Gwen, to northwest B.C. as he seeks to visit the more remote parts of the country after being named to the post in March. Luttrell is a believer in seeing first-hand what is being done.
“You can read reports and we certainly produce those, and people can tell you stories and you can look at books,” he said. “But nothing is as significant as coming and meeting people, listening and finding out what the needs are and what the work is doing and just getting a sense of what’s being accomplished.”
Even before coming this way, the Luttrells have done their share of moving around. Stops during their years in the Salvation Army have included northern California, the Central Pacific, before heading north of the 49th.
As the new Commander, Luttrell plans to continue the Salvation Army’s 130-year-old mission. “The Salvation Army was raised up in London, England in 1865 and the then founder gave direction to the Army then that still exists today,” he said. “Basically, we were raised up to save souls, to serve Saints, and to serve suffering humanity.”
Which means there is plenty of work for the Salvation Army to do. “Unfortunately, I don’t think any of those needs have changed,” he said. “You would hope that after 130 years that we’d made some progress and we have, but with growth that takes place throughout the world, the need still exists and so that mission continues even today.”
But Luttrell said the Salvation Army’s work is made easier by the support of the communities where its soldiers are stationed, particularly in the smaller centres like Dawson Creek. “There seems to be a sense of caring,” Luttrell said. “I mean we can pick that up just in casual conversation with people.”
The Luttrells also visited Fort St. John before returning to Dawson Creek to hold a service Friday evening.
Dawson Creek Salvation Army Captain Joan Shayler believes it has been the first-ever visit by a Canadian Commander to the Mile Zero City.
“I believe that it means that our headquarters is very interested in what’s happening in the rural areas of our country, and for the people here it is a big event,” she said.