Majors Steve and Christine Merritt

June 19, 2013

WHAT             Welcome of new officers to Rockford Temple Corps and Winnebago County

WHEN              Sunday, June 30, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE            The Salvation Army Rockford Temple Corps, 500 S. Rockford Ave., Rockford

WHY                As the Rockford community says farewell to Majors Randy and Kathy Hellstrom we also say hello to Majors Steve and Christine Merritt.  Helen Hill, The Salvation Army advisory board president, states, “While we will truly miss the Hellstroms, it is with great pleasure that we welcome the Merritts knowing that the good work of The Salvation Army will continue under their leadership.” The Merritts are being transferred from Omaha, Nebraska to the Rockford Temple Corps effective Wednesday, June 26, 2013 as the corps officers (pastors/administrators) with additional appointment of Winnebago County coordinator for Major Steve Merritt.  Accompanying them will be their youngest child, daughter Abigail (15), a sophomore in high school. Their oldest child, Benjamin, is at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas finishing his AIT in Army Medics.  He will graduate from this program August 9, 2013.  Their second child, Matthew is a sophomore at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan where he is enrolled in the IT program.

Steven Merritt and Christine (Diaz) Merritt were both born to Salvation Army officers.  Growing up, Steve lived with his family in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, and Illinois.  Christine lived in Michigan, Nebraska, and Illinois with her officer parents.  They met as children while both families were stationed in Omaha, Nebraska.  Their paths crossed again in Chicago, Illinois.  From Chicago Steve went into the US Marine Corps in 1981 and spent three years at Camp Pendleton, CA.  Christine attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL from 1980-1984 and graduated with a BA in Ed/K-9.   Steve has earned his BS from Olivet Nazarene University in Practical Ministries.

After Steve returned to Chicago he was employed at Schiele Graphics as a Journeyman Printer.   Christine returned to Chicago and worked at Burson-Marsteller Public Relations Firm. Both were active soldiers at The Salvation Army Oakbrook Terrace Corps.  They were married in 1986 and resided in Oak Park, IL.  They had their first child, Benjamin, in 1990. 

In 1991, Steve and Christine entered The College For Officer Training in Chicago, IL.  After being commissioned and ordained in 1993, they were appointed as corps officers in Lafayette, IN.  Their responsibilities included, preaching, teaching, and oversight of The Salvation Army work in Lafayette and Tippecanoe County.  Under their direction were social services, a family shelter, and an Advisory Board. They also added a second child, Matthew, to their family in 1994.  In 1995 Steve and Christine were appointed to Oak Creek, WI as corps officers.  They remained in the ministry in Oak Creek for eight years.  They were responsible for the congregational life, community relations, a 78-unit HUD housing for Seniors, and an extensive childcare and afterschool program.  The last of their three children, Abigail, was born in 1998. 

The Salvation Army transferred the Merritts to Dearborn Heights Citadel (one of the oldest established corps in the Central Territory) in the Metro Detroit area as corps officers.  They worked very closely with the Ford Motor Company community.  Their area of service included the largest population of immigrants from Iraq, outside of the Mideast.  They served in this appointment from July, 2003-June, 2010. 

 Steve and Christine were then appointed to the Western Division in Omaha, Nebraska.  Steve serving as the Divisional Secretary and Christine as the Women’s Ministries Secretary.  They took up these responsibilities on July 1, 2010 until their transfer to Rockford on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Ironically, the Hellstroms and Merritts are trading positions within The Salvation Army.


Welcome Sunday for Majors Steve and Christine Merritt will be June 30, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. and the public is invited. Major Steve Merritt will be preaching, and following that is a catered lunch and an informal “get to know the Merritts” time of fellowship.  Please call Dawn at 815-226-4400 to RSVP for the luncheon. 

INTERVIEWS      Available with the individuals above
• Major Steve Merritt, Winnebago County coordinator and corps officer 

• Major Christine Merritt, corps officer, Rockford Temple Corps

PHOTO OP      Available with above individuals after Thursday, June 27, 2013.
                        Photo attached.

The Salvation Army is a religious and charitable organization that has been meeting human needs since 1865. The Salvation Army’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. In Winnebago County, The Salvation Army has been assisting families and individuals since 1888.

The Salvation Army provides many programs and services for the needy, including food, clothing, prescription, and utility assistance, disaster relief, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, transitional housing and supportive services for men and women, citizenship classes, mentoring, violence-prevention classes, and recreational activities.  

Beverly Peterson
The Salvation Army, Director of Community Relations
Office: 815-962-7207
Cell: 779-537-9976

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