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“It was the Christian character of the YWCA that made it great. It is a shame that its turning its back on those values,” Mr. Judge added.

Will the Salvation Army, which has also accepted government funding, bow to a similar challenge?

“There are always pressures to dance to the tune being played by the world,” Mr. Clifton said. “We’ve never done that, and we’re not about to start. I do believe in understanding, we need to stay relevant; we need to be able to present ourselves with relevance to modern culture. But that’s different than to say we will allow the values of that culture to change who we are.”

Adds Mr. Knaggs, “There are a lot of issues pulling for our attention, but we have to remain true to our cause.”

Part of remaining true is that time-honored emphasis on those most in need of spiritual and physical aid.

“There’s nobody outside the pale of their concern,” said Pamela Walker, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa and author of the 2001 volume, “Pulling the Devil’s Kingdom Down: The Salvation Army in Victorian Britain.” The Army, she said, “cares for those people. There is no point where somebody is beyond redemption.”