Trip Signifies First Visit by Salvation Army USA Reps to Island Nation in nearly 60 Years
A group of Salvation Army representatives from the Eastern Territory, USA will travel to Cuba on February 18 through February 22. They will meet with officers of The Salvation Army of Cuba and government leaders to learn more about the country and the needs of its people, as well as, to share the gift of music to the people of Cuba. It is the first time Salvation Army leadership from the United States will visit Cuba in nearly 60 years.
Representing The Salvation Army Eastern Territory, USA are: The Salvation Army Eastern Territorial leaders, Commissioners Barry and Sue Swanson, along with The Salvation Army New York Staff Band; Lt. Colonel Stephen Banfield, Divisional Commander and Reverend Bonnie Camarda, Director of Partnerships from The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware; Major A. Philip Ferreira, Director of Operations and Aaron Cohen, Advisory Board Chair from The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia.
“It is our hope that through this visit we will find out how we can lend more support to our Salvation Army colleagues and the impoverished people of Cuba,” said Lt. Colonel Stephen Banfield, Divisional Commander, The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. “We are proud to represent The Salvation Army USA in this effort.”
The Salvation Army began working in Cuba in the early 1900s and operated until the start of a Cuban revolution in 1958. The Salvation Army became officially recognized in Cuba in the 1990s, when The Cuban Communist Party allowed churches to form again. Today, The Salvation Army in Cuba operates 22 corps community centers and two social service projects – a senior home and an addictions recovery program. The Salvation Army of Canada has conducted mission trips to Cuba since the late 2000s, but Cuban-U.S. relations hampered The Salvation Army USA outreach until now.
The New York Staff Band will perform for the first time for Cuban Salvation Army officers and members, local officials and artists in Cuba. The New York Staff Band is comprised of Salvation Army officers, employees and students playing brass and percussion instruments. Founded in 1887, it has circled the globe with messages of salvation and encouragement, including such places as Buckingham Palace, Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House. Major A. Philip Ferreira, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia Director of Operations, will be among the band members participating in the special performance.
“Music is the universal language. In the Salvation Army we believe it is God’s gift to the people,” said Major Ferreira. “Salvation Army band music has its own exuberant style that we know the people of Cuba will enjoy.”
In addition to conducting meetings, touring the country and the band’s performance, the group will perform a service project that entails painting and minor building repairs at The Salvation Army’s Corps Community Center in Havana.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware is a faith-based, comprehensive human service organization whose programs help individuals, families and whole communities lead healthier, safer and more productive lives. Since 1879, The Army has held a record of accomplishment stemming from its holistic approach to providing for the needs of the whole individual – physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. The Army’s programming operates from 51 community centers and 163 service units, or a network of volunteers, serving every zip code throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Delaware, offering: shelter, hot meals, counseling, early childhood development, recreational opportunities, music programs, after-school arts and educational programs, job training, activities for older adults, spiritual development, and drug rehabilitation. For more information, please visit www.SalvationArmyPendel.org