A local ministry is moving ahead with plans to consolidate its Eastern Sierra operations in a larger, permanent facility to better provide spiritual and bodily solace to thousands of Inyo and Mono county residents.
On Oct. 10, Salvation Army Corps Officer Lt. Cathie McCulley, the local ministry’s pastor, publicly launched a $1 million capital campaign to raise funds for its new permanent facility to be constructed at 106 MacIver St., Bishop.
To date, $267,806 has been received from private donors. As to the remaining funds needed, McCulley said, “It’s out there in the universe. With God, all things are possible. He will supply all our needs.”
“This is our chapel although it may not look like it,” said McCulley of the current facility at 621 W. Line St., which is furnished with tables and chairs as well as altar and podium. “In our unique ministry … we not only feed the soul. We feed the body as well … The Salvation Army is more than just a church, more than just a social service and more than just a thrift store; we work tirelessly to meet human need.”
The new building will “allow (us) to be more efficient and effective in the delivery of the essential services that Bishop and the entire Eastern Sierra need,” said Salvation Army Advisory Board Chair Tom Hallenbeck. Funds currently spent maintaining two leases will be channeled into providing services, said McCulley. For example, on Sundays at 10 a.m., the Salvation Army serves breakfast for 50 before worship. At 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, the men’s fellowship and Bible study is preceded by a full dinner and a women’s ministry luncheon is held Thursdays at noon.
The new facility will allow ample room for The Cup of Cold Water social services room to provide its critical safety net services to the needy: clothing, food and furniture and even rent and utilities assistance if funding is available, said McCulley. “Whatever we have, we give back.” She cited 2011 statistics: 3,174 residents received services – 2,173 meals, 3,119 food boxes, 118 nights of emergency lodging, utility assistance for 26 homes and summer camp tuition for 10 children. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, 100 children got toys and 173 families were assisted.
Campaign announcement event guests viewed a documentary of local resident Linda Patterson’s journey from isolation and destitution to social and financial stability with The Salvation Army’s aid. “I have a new church family … It’s like a second home. It means a lot to me. I don’t know what I’d do if they weren’t around,” Patterson said, adding that now she enjoys jovial carpools to church and breaking bread, worshipping and socializing at the ministry.
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been in the U.S. for 130 years and locally offers emergency relief assistance to families and individuals, youth programs, marital and personal counseling and addiction rehabilitation program referrals.
The new ministry building will also be headquarters for the volunteer job training program. “Wonderful people come in to see us and some of those wonderful people stay,” said McCulley of volunteers who put in 4,000 man-hours annually. For example, a disaster-response trained volunteer team is on standby, ready to assist in the event of local and regional disasters – forest fires, large-scale highway accidents, etc., said Salvation Army Public Relations Director Laine Hendricks. Advisory Board Member Larry Clark added, “They assisted with the Independence flood, the Big Pine fire, the homeless here … The Salvation Army is as big as the hearts in Inyo County.”
Plans for the new facility are moving apace, said Salvation Army Major Don Bowan. J.W. Griffin Construction of Ridgecrest partially donated services to produce site plans. After the applied-for Conditional Use Permit is granted, Bowman said, the job will go out to bid and hopefully they will break ground during spring 2013.
The new building will be a zenith in Bishop Salvation Army’s organizational stages of growth from a service extension in the ’50s, to a service center, then an outpost in 2003 and in 2010, a full corps. “This should show we’ve been here a long time and we’re not going anywhere … Now, we’re going to establish our presence in one location well into the future,” said Smith.
“The Salvation Army is reaching out to the community for help,” said Hendricks, to fund the capital campaign in support of “the expansion of the programs and services in the Owens Valley through the construction of a new building.”
For donation and services information, call (760) 872-2124 or go to www.SalvationArmyBishop.org  and click the “Help us Build a New Facility” icon.