Worshipers seeking a spiritual lift at the Salvation Army service yesterday came up a bit short.
Sunday-morning regulars were greeted with news that their 13-year facility, at 1535 University Ave., may soon be up for sale.
According to chairperson of the Berkeley Salvation Army Advisory Board Bill White, administrators from Sacramento informed the board this weekend that low attendance would likely be grounds for closing the center.
“This is a step backward for us,” he said. “When people think about the Salvation Army, they have always thought Berkeley and all the work that’s been done here.”
Salvation Army administrators are expected to make a formal announcement about the closing on Wednesday, White said. Officials at the Sacramento divisional headquarters could not be reached for comment.
The Berkeley Salvation Army, in addition to its regular Sunday morning worship service, provides a number of resources for the community. Access to free food, shelter, and clothing, counseling on employment and personal issues like drug addiction, and direct monetary aid and vouchers are among their services.
Once the group’s facility is sold, White said the organization will likely move to a smaller, rented space somewhere in town.
However, White added that the chaplain and manager of Berkeley’s Salvation Army, Captain Terrance Wright, would be transferred to a new post, and
the organization’s new quarters would likely discontinue worship services.
“And the sale is not only going to affect the Salvation Army,” he continued,” but other programs as well.”
Berkeley’s Head Start, a nonprofit serving children of low-income families, as well as the city’s Police Activities League, a program also serving youth, operate out of the Berkeley Salvation Army building too.
Berkeley’s Salvation Army board is planning an “emergency” meeting for Tuesday to develop a strategy to counter Wednesday’s expected announcement.
White said he hopes Sacramento officials will reconsider selling their facility, but said he’s doubtful that Wright would stay and worship services would continue.