The Living Word! - Salvation Army Canada


  • Sep22Fri

    The Living Word!

    Retrospective #15 September 22, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
    "Deep within my heart have I hid..."
    "Deep within my heart have I hid..."

    Many of you who are reading this may be followers of the program LIVING TRUTH from The Peoples Church here in Toronto. Through the teachings of Pastor Charles Price, they strive to present biblical insights in ways that everyone can understand, so that they can experience a living relationship with God, expressed in daily obedience and dependence on Him.

    Some of you may remember a similar undertaking by The Salvation Army several generations ago known by the title THE LIVING WORD. As a kid I can remember watching this, on Sunday mornings, as we were getting ready to go to the barracks! In the corner of the “front room” – now called the “living room”, we had an old black and white “Fairbanks-Morse” TV. A plain brown box sitting on four, skinny, wooden legs (very much like those on old coffee tables).
    On good days we sometimes received two channels – CBC and CTV with CTV often sending a stronger signal, or maybe it was because we only had one antenna in the attic?

    I didn’t realize it at the time but THE LIVING WORD - one hundred and sixty-six, fifteen minute television programs, with a spiritual message, were produced in the Canada Bermuda Territory during the late fifties and early sixties and broadcast throughout Canada and the United States on over three hundred TV stations with re-runs as late as 1981.

    The names of officers Arnold Brown, Leslie Pindred, Ken Evenden from Canada and Ernest Millar from the United States are synonymous with this great effort along with Les Thatcher, a cameraman and film producer who had long worked for the Canadian Film Board.

    Program formats included Documentary, Short Drama and Song Story. The lion’s share of these shows was hosted by the then Captain Ernest Miller - now Lieutenant-Colonel, retired, in his nineties, and still working five days a week with media and The Salvation Army.

    This witnessing tool was recorded in an improvised studio in the sub-basement of The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters Canada & Bermuda which was then located at 20 Albert Street here in Toronto. (A portion of the Eaton Centre now covers the spot). Work was done at night from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. – thus eliminating elevator and streetcar noises!

    The then Captain Arnold Brown (later General Arnold Brown) was able to use his dream - THE LIVING WORD, to take advantage of “broadcast rules” in the early years of TV to get the Gospel out there and call people to Christ - while at the same time injecting The Salvation Army into the awareness of Canadian citizens. {Broadcasters were required, in order to qualify for a publicly owned segment of the broadcast spectrum, to give “Free Time” to public interest groups such as churches. THE LIVING WORD never purchased broadcast time, a benefit that would eventually end by the late 1960s. Other expenses incurred were shared by the Canadian and U.S. territories}.

    You will be thrilled to know that more than sixty of these shows have been digitised and can now be seen on YouTube where they will be joined in the very near future by another sixty plus.

    Pull up a chair, check the tubes in the back of your old “Fairbank-Morse,” and then sit back and enjoy some vintage Salvation Army preaching and teaching along with great SA music by guest Bands and Songsters.

    You will find them at:


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