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Aug28FriChief of the Staff Presides at Launch of Salvation Army History DVD August 28, 2009
A documentary charting the history of the early days of The Salvation Army and its Founders, William and Catherine Booth, had its premiere at a cinema in the East End of London in the UK, very near to the place where the international church and charity organisation began. The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Robin Dunster – second-in-charge of The Salvation Army – was present at the premiere, along with senior Salvation Army leaders from the United Kingdom.
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Our People: The Story of William and Catherine Booth and The Salvation Army gives an account of the Founders of The Salvation Army and their vision for a Christian movement which inspired, reached out to and included the unloved and disadvantaged in society who felt excluded from church at that time.
The 78-minute documentary had its first public screening at the Genesis Cinema in the Mile End Road, Whitechapel, on Sunday 23 August. It was very close to this spot, near the Blind Beggar public house and Whitechapel Waste, that William Booth started preaching in 1865. This led to the creation of the East London Christian Mission which in 1878 was renamed The Salvation Army.
Our People: The Story of William and Catherine Booth and The Salvation Army charts the founding of The Salvation Army, using around 350 images, including contemporary photographs, press cuttings and images from the time and artist impressions of several key events in the early days of the organisation. Many of these, selected from more than 1,000 gathered in researching for the film, have not been seen for more than 80 years.
The images are set alongside interviews with historians, writers and commentators offering expert knowledge of The Salvation Army and church and social history in the mid to late Victorian era. Additional material provided on bonus tracks on the DVD includes memories from Salvation Army members and leaders which serve as part of an oral history of The Salvation Army that the producers were also attempting to achieve.
Our People is produced by Radiant Films in association with Carpenter Media, an arm of the Australia Eastern Territory, which has funded the project. It is co-produced, directed and edited by Corey Baudinette, an Australian filmmaker who is also a Salvationist. The film is narrated by the British actor Russell Bolter.
Major Peter Farthing, Secretary for Spiritual Life Development for The Salvation Army's Australia Eastern Territory, and the film's executive producer, said: 'Five years in the making, Our People endeavours to tell the story of The Salvation Army to new generations around the world. The remarkable lives of William and Catherine Booth will inspire Christians and warm the hearts of many. For members of The Salvation Army, Our People will underscore the purposes on which their movement is founded.'
Introducing the film, the Chief of the Staff thanked Major Farthing for having the vision for the project and making it a reality. Repeating something Major Farthing had said earlier, Commissioner Dunster told the audience: 'To understand the spirit of The Salvation Army, and its mission and theology, we need to understand its roots.'
The Genesis Cinema audience of around 150 people included Salvation Army officers (ministers), members and friends, among them a group of international Salvation Army leaders currently attending the Army's International College for Officers in South London. Colonel Bramwell Booth, a great-grandson of William and Catherine Booth who features in the documentary, was present with family members, also descendants of the Founders.
The premiere of Our People was sponsored by The Salvation Army's Australia Eastern Territory in cooperation with The Salvation Army's International Headquarters and the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland.
To find out more about Our People: The Story of William and Catherine Booth and The Salvation Army go to www.ourpeoplefilm.com.
Top photo: Filmmaker Corey Baudinetter, the Chief of the Staff, Colonel Bramwell Booth and Executive Producer Major Peter Farthing; below: cover of the new DVD