General Arnold Brown, international leader of The Salvation Army from 1977 - 1981, was remembered in a Service of Thanksgiving at the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario, on 3 July 2002. General Brown was promoted to Glory on 26 June 2002, at the age of 88. The retired General was a strong supporter of Salvation Army music with published compositions for both brass and vocal ensembles. During his term of office as General, he established the International Staff Songsters, the Army’s premier vocal group.
General Arnold Brown was born the son of Salvation Army officers in London, England in 1913. The family emigrated to Canada, and Brown entered officer’s training from the Belleville Corps. He was commissioned as an officer in 1935. He became a specialist in publicity, publishing, and Salvation Army history, serving for ten years in the Canadian headquarters editorial department. While serving as the assistant editor of the Canadian edition of The War Cry, the Army’s official publication, he compiled a history of the first fifty years of the Army’s work in Canada, entitled What Hath God Wrought?. In 1939, during his time on the editorial staff, he married Lieutenant Jean Barclay.
As the new media of radio and television became more important, Brown’s full genius in the field of public relations became apparent. His most notable achievement in this realm was the creation of The Living Word, a television series that was aired throughout North America. The success of the program made Arnold Brown a well-known name throughout the Salvation Army internationally.
Following a short appointment as Territorial Youth Secretary in Canada, Brown’s career in the field of public relations continued with an appointment as Secretary for Public Relations at International Headquarters, in 1964. His time in this appointment saw a marked rise in the Army’s profile in the United Kingdom. In 1969, he was appointed international Chief of the Staff, serving for five years under General Erik Wickberg. In 1974, he returned to Canada as Territorial Commander.
In 1977, Commissioner Brown was elected to succeed Clarence Wiseman as the eleventh General of the Salvation Army, taking office on July 5, 1977. At the time, plans had already been made for a major international Congress, held in London in the summer of 1978. Other notable events of General Brown’s term of office included the passage of the Salvation Army Act in 1980. This Act of the British Parliament made important changes in the legal organization of the Salvation Army. Also in 1980, General Brown approved the founding of the International Staff Songsters, the vocal equivalent of the International Staff Band. Upon his retirement in 1981, he returned to Canada.
The Service of Thanksgiving, which had been planned in advance by General Brown himself, was led by the Territorial Commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory, Commissioner Bill Luttrell, supported by Commissioner Linda Bond, newly appointed Territorial Commander of the USA Western Territory and former Chief Secretary in Canada, and retired General Bramwell Tillsley. Music was provided by the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster Kevin Hayward) and Captain Leonard Ballantine on the organ. Colonel John Bate, who served as an aide to General Brown during his term of office, gave a tribute. The family was represented by one of General Brown’s sons-in-law, Harold Heatherington. The message was given by the current international Chief of the Staff, Commissioner John Larsson.