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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Why did Sri Lanka issue a stamp for the 116th anniversary of the Salvation Army in that country?

The stamp’s designer, Major Daryl Crowden, explains.

This stamp was designed at The Salvation Army Headquarters in Colombo Sri Lanka by myself, in my position as Territorial Public Relations Secretary, and the Youth Secretary, Captain Nihal Het-tiarachchi, with ultimate approval of the Territorial Commander, Colonel Keith Wylie.

One of our Salvation Army Officers (Captain Subasinghe) was friendly with the Sri Lankan Postal Agency management and approached them about the possibility of issuing a stamp as part of a public awareness program that was to coincide with the visit of General Radar (R) in 1999 (which explains the unusualness of issuing a stamp not coinciding with an anniversary).

However, the stamp ended up bearing no image, or relationship with the General’s visit as the decision was made that it should be more generic so as to "outlast" the once-off event.

Given that Sri Lanka is essentially a Buddhist and Hindu culture, it was decided that the stamp should display both recognisable Christian symbols (the Cross and the Bible) and the internationally recognised Red Shield. The Salvation Army is very well known and accepted in Sri Lanka for it's welfare and community ministries but we wanted to focus attention on the reason for the ministry — our faith in Jesus.

At this time the Red Shield had not appeared with either Sinhalese or Tamil script, hence the English version. The flag, whilst not easily recognised in 'stamp' size bears the foundations of faith for the Salvation Army. (Blue border - Holiness (Christ-likeness) of life; Red - the blood of Christ; Yellow Star - the fire of the Holy Spirit, with the central Motto "Blood and Fire.")

The stamp was designed in MS Publisher and was therefore extremely basic when submitted to the Postal Agency. It was their artists that embellished the image with the yellow (Bible and Shield) and brown (Cross) halo effect.

The Salvation Army had very little to do with the First Day Cover. It was a later addition, requested by the Postal Agency and the image of William Booth (Co-Founder of The Salvation Army) was requested, and all artwork for this was completed by the Postal Service. The First Day Cover (and some stamps) were sold from The Salvation Army's Trade Store, located in Territorial Headquarters, at 53 Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Cohimbo 2.

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