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Amid holiday frenzy, Salvation Army bells pause for Sabbath

Updated: 2012-11-25T23:14:44Z

By RICK MONTGOMERY

The Kansas City Star

Salvation Army volunteers spent the first Sunday of the holiday shopping season as they spend every Sunday:

Not ringing bells.

Amid the retail frenzy initiated annually on Black Friday — or this year, Black Thursday — shoppers may not notice nor even know that Salvation Army bell ringers stick to a tradition that few of the stores around them observe.

“We need a day of rest,” said Maj. Barb Carroll, who held services Sunday at the Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 5306 North Oak Trafficway. “Because we’re a church, the first thing is to worship every Sunday, rain or shine, ice or snow.”

About 100 worshipers and the usual brass band attended the service in the Northland, one of eight Salvation Army locations around the metro area that open their doors weekly for church.

The holiday season is no different, which will explain the bare kettle poles and lack of clanging at malls the next four Sundays.

“We honor God by not making that effort to get extra dollars on Sunday,” said Maj. Rick Carroll, who shares ministerial duties at the North Oak site with his wife. “We believe we will get (the kettle donations) God wants us to get.”

The Salvation Army has always silenced its bells on Sundays, across the nation, though most shoppers are unaware, Rick Carroll said.

He encounters blank stares at speaking gigs when he challenges an audience: “Tell me something you know about the Salvation Army — and you can’t say it’s where you take your old clothes, and you can’t say we’re on the streets ringing bells at Christmas time….

“People don’t know we’re a church.”

Local organizers of the bell-ringing campaign hope to raise record sums to help the needy. Special emphasis is being placed this year on ending human trafficking.

To raise awareness, singer/songwriter Andy Grammer is scheduled to perform Dec. 7 at a “Rock the Red Kettle” benefit concert at the Midland Theatre.

Go to www.rockkcredkettle.org for more information or to sign up for bell-ringing.

To reach Rick Montgomery, call 816-234-4410 or send email to rmontgomery@kcstar.com.

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