God's Cadets: Joining the Salvation Army

God's Cadets: Joining the Salvation Army


A common perception of the Sally Ann is of tuba-toting tin rattlers. And you wonder what we’re in for when twinkly, Harry Potter-style music plays over a uniform-fitting, and an off-screen interviewer asks, “Prayers are like spells, aren’t they?” But as we meet the cadets turning their backs on the material world to walk among life’s wounded, their stories (some unbelievably sad) are heard without judgement.

Bright-as-a-button Annmarie joined the Salvation Army as a child soon after she was put up for adoption. Without an ounce of self-pity, she says, “I didn’t experience love, but actually I’ve learnt the value of love.”

Cameras go inside the training college of this distinctive British institution, as officers-to-be prepare for their ministry among prostitutes, addicts and the homeless. “We’re called to serve everybody,” says Luke, “not just the people that fit in our comfort zone.”

And it’s an emotional, jolting journey when the question of salvation for relatives is considered.

It’s a quiet, moving and contemplative study of faith and doubt, strict codes and sacrifice.


Documentary following a selection of recruits as they are put through their paces at the Salvation Army's Officer Training College in London. The new intake struggle with the religious order's numerous rules and regulations, and share stories of their sometimes colourful pasts as they as they search for a meaningful existence away from their more self-centred lifestyles in the modern world.