New director at The Salvation Army will have to adjust to small-town life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 11, 2001

Small-town life will be a new experience for Capt. Geraldine Martin, the new leader of The Salvation Army in Natchez.

Martin, an ordained minister and talented musician, has spent more time in cities such as Houston, Dallas and Atlanta.

&uot;This is a little different from most of my other assignments,&uot; she said. &uot;But the Army cannot send you where God cannot use you. I try to be adaptable and learn from every new place.&uot;

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She looks forward to learning more about the community, meeting people and bringing new volunteers into Salvation Army activities.

Most important, however, will be the day-to-day efforts to develop leadership abilities among those who will help to carry out the Army mission.

&uot;My specific goal is to develop leadership who can lead spiritually and emotionally to carry on our program,&uot; she said. &uot;I have the technical authority, but I’m only one person and can’t provide all the leadership and carry out the programs according to Army standards by myself.&uot;

Martin grew up in the Army. &uot;It was my church. I&160;participated in all the activities you can except for the men’s group.&uot;

For those who don’t think of The Salvation Army as a church, Martin has an explanation that a mentor gave her:

&uot;It is a religious organization with a social services mission, or a social services organization with a religious mission. One can’t be separated from the other.&uot;

The Army was founded in 1865. The denomination is Salvationist, and the church is a branch of the Christian church, Martin said.

Martin spent 10 years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of staff sergeant and spending most of her years as a recruitment sergeant.

When she decided to turn to ministry, she looked within herself for three key requirements.

&uot;You first must have received salvation; second, you must believe you’ve received the call from God to go into the ministry,&uot; she said. &uot;And third, you have to want to answer that call.&uot;

She attended the Army’s seminary in Atlanta, where the two-year course prepares candidates to become officers. &uot;All officers in the Army are ordained clergy.&uot;

A native of Texas, Martin has been an officer for nine years. She is eager to continue the long tradition of good works for which the Army has been known in the Natchez area.

Demonstrating the love of God, Army members seek ways to identify and address some of the most basic needs of people of the world, she said.