Editorial: In Significant Years
by Kevin Sims
In Significant Years
The year 2003, according to The Salvation Army Year Book, was significant for one thing – being insignificant. The table of ‘Important Events in Salvation Army History’ contains no entry for 2003. According to the criteria – international gatherings, new Generals, openings in new countries all count – 2003 was not worth a mention.
Which begs the question, what is important – what is significant? The 2004 entry, when that comes to be written, will certainly mention one major happening – the relocation of International Headquarters to its new, purpose-built home. The thinking behind this amazing building is explained in an article in this issue of All the World. The back page also highlights the significance of 2005, which is a special year for The Salvation Army worldwide to focus on work with children and youth.
For The Salvation Army’s International Emergency Services, 2004 was a very significant year. It seems to have been a disaster-filled time, with hurricanes trampling across the Caribbean and the Atlantic coast of North America, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Iraq and thousands of people forced from their homes in Uganda – seemingly unnoticed by the media. And that’s just for starters! With such a busy year, it’s only right to give special attention in this issue to the emergency relief work of The Salvation Army.
The year 2005 is set to be significant for me and my family. In March my wife, Nichola, and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage – a tribute to her loving endurance and patience! – but before that (and this may happen at the end of 2004) our family will get significantly bigger as we welcome a brother or sister for four-year-old Noah. These are exciting times – if more than a little scary!
Our new baby won’t make it onto the pages of the Year Book but to me, Nichola and Noah, it’ll be a life-changing event. We know things will never be the same again.
It reminds me of the way The Salvation Army approaches emergency relief work. As can be seen in these pages, sometimes the need can seem overwhelming and, as a relief worker, it can be a struggle to think you can make even the tiniest difference. But every person helped is important, every opportunity to start life anew is significant. A simple package given by a relief worker can mean the world to someone who has lost everything.
Just as I will be celebrating some significant events in this coming year, so The Salvation Army will keep making sure that, for the needy people it helps, 2005 will be a year they never forget.