AUGUSTA — The new Salvation Army Corps officers are young, ambitious and anxious to become familiar with the communities in the Waterville and Augusta area.

This is the first assignment for Lts. Joel and Kama Lyle, who have two sons, Dylan, 8 months, and Jordan, 2.

“We know southern Maine well,” Joel Lyle, 33, said. “We need to get to know central Maine.”

Kama Lyle, 27, is originally from Portland, and they have family in Maine as well.

They’re promoting the new headquarters of the Capital Region Salvation Army Corps at 36 Eastern Ave., where there is plenty of room for Sunday worship services, Sunday school, social service offices and a food pantry that’s open daily during the week. The Salvation Army’s corps in Waterville merged with the Augusta area corps in July 2013 to create the Capital Region Corps, which serves both areas.

The Lyles, who live in Oakland, have replaced Majors David and Karin Dickson, who recently retired. A third officer who worked most recently in the Capital Region Corps, Lt. Erin Smullen, is now an officer in Sanford.

And while the Lyles are new graduates from The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training in Suffern, N.Y., they are both very familiar with Salvation Army life.

“She’s first generation Salvation Army and I’m fifth generation Salvation Army,” Joel Lyle said recently. His parents were Salvation Army officers.

Kama Lyle was introduced to the Salvation Army in Portland when she was very young.

“My grandmother invited me one day and I just fell in love with it,” Kama Lyle said. “I love the Army so much.”

She went to The Salvation Army Camp Sebago in Standish, first as a camper and then as a staff member. The couple met when she was working in the kitchen at Camp Sebago and Joel Lyle was attending a men’s retreat there, and he too has worked as a staff member at the camp.

They both have high praise for that camp. Currently several children from the central Maine area are attending that camp, and the Lyles are hoping more will go next year.

So far they said the Capital Region Corps will have a presence and — a kettle — at next Saturday’s Fest.

“That’s going to be a Christmas in July,” Joel Lyle said. They’re also hoping to participate in a Waterville event shortly.

They offer Sunday services in the form of a meeting at 10:30 a.m. and a Sunday school at 9:45 a.m.

“Our first goal is ministry,” Joel Lyle said.

In the fall, they plan to begin men’s and women’s fellowship groups, which will be open to everyone. They said they’re considering cooking and crafts groups, maybe even jewelry-making sessions — a favorite of Kama Lyle — and a men’s breakfast session. Each event would have a devotional or spiritual element.

Kama Lyle said the couple want to get more youth and children into programs.

They like to bring their own children along when they go to meet people. But the parents also send their children to day care several days a week so they can have time for one-on-one counseling sessions and other social service work.

To introduce their family and the Salvation Army itself to the neighborhood, they’re planning a block party 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 30 in the parking lot of the Eastern Avenue location. They want people to understand that even though the Salvation Army is no longer located on North Pearl Street, the Salvation Army is still fully operational in both Augusta and in Waterville where the Salvation Army has a social service office at 189 Main St.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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