Everyone is welcome to attend a Salvation Army corps (church) and be part of our faith community. Some people choose to make a more formal level of commitments as an Adherent, Soldier or Officer of The Salvation Army. Some people come to the Salvation Army to receive support in a time of need such as shelter, clothing, food, or other support. No membership within the Army is required for this support; and we provide such supports to anyone who needs it without discreimination or judgement.
Membership as an adherent, soldier or officer begins with salvation. The basis of faith is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Members of the salvation Army who have not made a commitment to soldiership. Adherents are Christians who consider a local Salvation Army corps to be their church home and want to support its vitality through their presence and involvement.
A soldier is a Salvationist who is at least 14 years of age and has expressed a desire to be a member of the Salvation Army participating as a Senior Soldier. Soldiers participate in pre-soldiership training and have express publicly their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Each recruit for soldiership must obtain the approval of The Salvation Army Pastoral Care Council in each local Salvation Army corps (formerly called the Census Board), to be enrolled as a Soldier in the Christian denomination called The Salvation Army – after signing the Soldier's Covenant (Salvation Army Articles of War). The soldier expresses his or her commitment in every area of life, but more specifically through the ministry and work of a local Salvation Army corps.
Salvation Army Officers are trained for service at the College for Officer Training for two years. This is part of a five year program. The residential component involves theological, denominational and service training. During the two year residential program you hold the rank of Cadet.
Every group of Cadets has a Sessional name which is shared by Cadets around the world. This name identifies their session, and the years they trained. In a public meeting, when the name of a session is mentioned, you may hear Officers who trained in that session shout out “Hallelujah”. Every General is given the privilege of naming the next five sessions of Cadets.
For a complete list of Sessional Names please click here.
Officers of The Salvation Army are soldiers who have given up all other occupation in the secular work place and have responded to a calling from God to devote all their time, talents and energies in the full-time service of God, within The Salvation Army. Officership is not just a calling to a particular service path or vocation, but rather a calling to a covenanted life.
A recommended Candidate can only become an Officer after they have been trained at The Salvation Army College for Officer Training (CFOT) as Cadets, and then ordained and commissioned as Officers.
Once ordained and commissioned and officer will be given their rank and their first appointment.
Over time, the rank system has evolved, for a list of ranks which are no longer in use, please click here.
In Canada our current rank system is as follows:
Lieutenant – This is the first commissioned rank following ordination and is held for a period of five years.
Captain - This rank is conferred on an Officer after having completed five years as an Officer and successfully completed a designated course of further study.
Major - Following ten years as a Captain, and Officer receives the promotion to the rank of Major. Most Officers will remain at this rank unless they receive a promotion to a higher rank due to their position assigned.
Lieutenant Colonel – Typically held for Divisional or senior leadership appointment.
Colonel – Typically given to an officer who hold responsibility at a Territorial level
Commissioner – This rank is given to officers in charge of a Territorial or a senior international appointment. Those holding the rank of Commissioner, and those holding the rank of Colonel where they are in charge of a territory are eligible to participate at a High Council and elect the next General of The Salvation Army.
Chief of the Staff – Although not a rank, this position is held by a Commissioner, and is the second highest position within the Salvation Army. This Position is by appointment of the General and there is only ever one active Chief of the Staff at any one time.
General – This is the only elected position within the Salvation Army. The Officer chosen for this position is elected during the proceedings of a High Council. There is only ever one active General at any one time in the Salvation Army. Canadians have held this office for 5 times.
For a complete list of Officers that have served in Canada please click here.
Awards and Distinctions
Since 1917, The Salvation Army has been officially recognizing the extra ordinary efforts of Salvationists and friends of the Army in promoting and supporting our work. Today we award individuals with the following Salvation Army Honours: Order of the Founder, Order of Distitguished Auxiliary Service, and Certificate in Recognition of Exceptional Service.
For a complete list of those who have receive various awards and distinctions from Canada please click here.