Salvation Army Metropolitan Division Welcomes New Officers

Jul 21, 2020

The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division recently welcomed new officers at our corps community centers in Aurora, Elgin, Norridge, and Hammond-Munster. In addition to meeting the unique needs brought on by COVID-19 in each community, these corps officers oversee administrative duties, programs, services, and serve as pastors for Sunday worship services.

Captains Joaquin and Gabriela Rangel assume leadership in Aurora as The Salvation Army prepares to open a newly constructed corps community center in the coming months. “As the Aurora Corps embarks on a new chapter later this summer, we are truly grateful and challenged to honor those who have preceded us, having literally and figuratively laid the foundation of our new community center,” said Captain Gabriela Rangel.

Captains Rangel have served as Salvation Army officers for 14 years, most recently in suburban Kansas City. They have deep roots in Chicagoland, where they attended seminary and all three of their children were born.  

Captains Rangel replace Captains Rich and Linnea Forney, who have been assigned to serve as corps officers at The Salvation Army Elgin Corps. They take over leadership responsibilities as the need for food and emergency assistance, such as one-time help with rent or utility bills, has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

“Our goal is to identify needs in our community and do all we can to advocate for the underserved,” said Captain Rich Forney. “We want to build on being a reliable partner at the community leadership table, serving as the Lord provides the resources to meet those needs.”

Captains Peter and Catherine Mount come to the Norridge Corps Community Center from the Detroit area. As they launch into their fourth appointment with the Army, they, like all the new officers, face the challenge of transitioning to a new corps and community in the middle of a pandemic.  

“How can you care for people, how can you connect people to community, and still respect social distancing boundaries?” Captain Catherine said. “The biggest challenge is figuring out the best way to continue to care for people when we’re in such a different kind of world.”

For Lieutenants Joshua and Darby Bowyer, their appointment at the Hammond-Munster corps isn’t just their introduction to the Metropolitan Division, it is their first appointment since completing their time at the Salvation Army College for Officers Training in Chicago.

“We felt called by God into full-time service, and The Salvation Army allows us to do that,” said Lieutenant Joshua Bowyer. “Our main goal is to find out the specific needs of our community and work toward meeting those needs with the resources we have.”

Captain Christina Champlin joins Captain Mary Kim in leading the Evanston Corps Community Center. Together, they will oversee all administrative duties, programs, and services. One of Captain Christina’s initial goals is to determine the best ways to reach people safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m looking forward to thinking outside the box, being creative in our approach to people, and connecting with new people in new methods and ways,” said Captain Christina.

She takes on a leadership role as the requests for food assistance increased significantly this spring during the pandemic. “The need for The Salvation Army is even greater than it’s been for a long time,” Captain Christina said.

These officers are now part of a division that boasts 28 corps community centers from Waukegan to Joliet and Gary-Merrillville to Rockford, all Doing the Most Good to help our neighbors in need.

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