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William Booth

1829-1912. Founder and first general of the [[Salvation Army]].* Born in Nottingham, he was converted in 1844 and became first a minister, then an evangelist, in the [[Methodist New Connexion]] Church. In 1861, however, he resigned because its leaders wanted to restrict him to a limited circuit. He became a free-lance evangelist and in 1865 began meetings in London's East End, where extreme poverty and hardship were the rule for most people. Gradually the work grew, was named “The Christian Mission,” and spread to other centers. He was aided by his wife Catherine,* herself a gifted preacher. Both tackled social evils alongside his direct evangelism; by 1872 he was running five “Food-for-the-Million” shops, selling cheap meals. He and his colleagues were often attacked physically when preaching, but there were remarkable instances of lives transformed by the Gospel.