Wilson Carlile, Founder of the Church Army

26 September -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Missionaries, page 503

Wilson Carlile was born in 1847 in Brixton. He suffered from a spinal weakness all his life, which hampered his education. He entered his grandfather's business at the age of thirteen but soon moved on and learned French fluently, which he used to good advantage in France trading in silk. He later learned German and Italian to enhance his business but was ruined in the slump of 1873. After a serious illness, he began to treat his religion more seriously and became confirmed in the Church of England. He acted as organist to Ira D Sankey during the Moody and Sankey missions and, in 1881, was ordained priest, serving his curacy at St Mary Abbots in Kensington, together with a dozen other curates. The lack of contact between the Church and the working classes was a cause of real concern to him and he began outdoor preaching. In 1882, he resigned his curacy and founded the Church Army, four years after the founding of the Salvation Army. Under his influence it thrived and he continued to take part in its administration until a few weeks before his death on this day in 1942.