“Salvation Army Leader Carries Flag of Justice” (Nashville City Paper Article)

On a recent rainy Tuesday, Steve Simms quietly toiled as corps administrator of the Salvation Army’s Berry Street Worship Center in East Nashville’s McFerrin Park. A gray-haired, mustachioed man possessed of a pleasant demeanor, Simms lifted a large flag — with which he’s walked along some hardscrabble streets regularly for the past five years — to show its form and physical condition. It’s snagged and clearly worn, the work of barbed and razor wire on nearby fences along Dickerson Road.

 

“It has been a violent neighborhood,” Simms said. He walks at least once a week, sometimes as far as three miles, carrying the flag. “We walk and pray for God to change people’s hearts and to change the neighborhood.”

 

The Salvation Army Flag features a blue border, red palette and yellow star, in which the phrase “Blood and Fire” is inscribed. The colors, according the Salvation Army, are noteworthy: Yellow stands for the fire of the Holy Spirit, red represents the blood of Jesus, and blue symbolizes living a pure life. Simms honors the Salvation Army flag like most Americans do the Stars and Stripes.

 

No doubt, Simms’ walks aren’t to be confused with a carefree Sunday stroll through a park or a suburb. Along Dickerson Road and its side streets, drugs, alcohol and prostitution are common. Optimism is scarce. A middle-aged, unassuming gentleman strolling with a flag would seemingly be a target for verbal — if not physical — abuse.

 

“I’ve never been physically threatened, and I’ve interrupted drug deals,” said Simms, who serves as church planner at the worship center and works with his wife, Ernie, the facility’s other corps administrator. “I’ve been approached by some rough-looking people.”

 

While crediting quality police work, Simms said the flag walks have had a calming effect in the area. He sees less violence and more people who recognize him. No longer is he perceived as the weird guy carrying a Salvation Army flag. Others have even joined him on occasion.

 

“After a couple of years, a guy started walking with us and carrying a flag. He said, ‘I’m carrying this flag and nobody seems to think it’s unusual.’ I said, ‘That’s because we’ve been doing it for a while.’ ”

(Come, visit Nashville’s most unique church, The Salvation Army Berry Street, where ordinary people show and tell what God has done — Sundays at 10:45, 225 Berry St., 37207.)

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About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. I have written two books: Mindrobics: How To Be Happy For The Rest Of Your Life and Your Sperm Won--Experiencing Your Value As A Championship Human Being. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I lead a non-traditional church in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the early church come to life in our time.
This entry was posted in blood, Blood and Fire, blood and fire battle flag, blood of Jesus, flag, McFerrin Park, Music City, Nashville, Nashville news, news, prayer, praying, Stars and Stripes, witness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Salvation Army Leader Carries Flag of Justice” (Nashville City Paper Article)

  1. Pingback: Salvation Army Flag Prayer Walk Report — Nashville’s McFerrin Park Neighborhood | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (Steve Simms Blogs From Nashville)

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