Risevibes: Catherine Booth – From Timidity to Boldness by David Malcolm Bennett

The latest offering on the life and influence of Catherine Booth comes from a writer who has

devoted much of his life to researching and writing on the Booths and the early Salvation Army. It is the first of a two-volume biography which explores the life of Catherine Booth, a highly complex yet remarkable woman. While much of the narrative is known through the works of other writers, Bennett breaks new ground, particularly in researching Catherine’s family of origin, the Mumfords.

There are some strong emerging themes; such as the methods the Booths began to employ in reaching the lost; street parades before the service, the altar call. Notable, also is Catherine’s conviction on female ministry and the development of the Booth’s team ministry, a persuasion that may well have impacted the Army in its insistence that married candidates for officership must both receive the call to full-time ministry.

In this book Catherine comes across as a warts and all real person, complete with idiosyncrasies. Timid? Well perhaps by nature, but fearless and focused, often obsessed with her own health and death, judgmental, tactless and outspoken, yet compassionate, Catherine Mumford was a highly complex and multifaceted personality who was to emerge as perhaps one the most outstanding women in Victorian England. It may well be that her early death deprived her of the recognition she so rightly deserved. It is a story that once again proves that God will use those who are totally committed to Him.

A must read for those interested in the birth and development of The Salvation Army.

Reviewer: David Woodbury

This book can be purchased at Koorong or other good books stores, online or in store.