William Booth, of Salvation Army fame, became a Christian in England in 1829. Saved as a teenager, Booth instantly became a soul winner. After owning a pawn shop for a short time, he quit to become a traveling Methodist evangelist, particularly focusing on the poor. He was often persecuted, haggard, and tired. He began calling his ministry the Salvation Army. That caught people attention and many become followers in the Lord’s army as it achieved notice all around the world. A group of SA workers sought to establish a ministry in Salisbury. They were greeted with bricks and eggs thrown at them when they tried to preach on the streets.
In Salisbury lived a builder named Charles Fry and his three sons, all amateur musicians. Their instruments consisted of a tuba, a trombone, and two cornets. As self-appointed bodyguards, they traveled with Booth, drawing crowds with their music. This was the origin of the Salvation Army Brass Bands.
Charles Fry wrote “The Lily of the Valley.” Within the year, 1881, Fry passed away. On his grave, is inscribed another verse composed by him: “The former things are past, and ended is the strife, I’m safe home at last! I live an endless life!”
I have gleaned this information from “Then Sings My Soul, Book 2, Robert J. Morgan. As I muse on the story I think of Psalm 37:6, “He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” So here, today, I sit blessed by the outcome of the lives of William Booth and Charles Fry. “I have a friend in Jesus, he’s everything to me, He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.” Be blessed, dear friends.