Churches asked to strengthen ties with scouting units
7/23/2003 News media contact: Kathy Gilbert · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.
This report may be used as a sidebar to UMNS story #371.
By J. Richard Peck*NASHVILLE,
Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists, already major sponsors of scouting
programs, will be asked to strengthen their congregations' ties with
scouting when the church's lawmaking assembly meets next spring.
Methodist churches sponsor 408,000 Boy Scouts and Venture Crews - which
are coeducational groups - in 12,200 units. That's the highest number
in any denomination, according to the church's Commission on United
Methodist Men in Nashville. The number of Venture Crews units has
doubled in the last five years.
The denomination also has
108,000 Girl Scouts in 15,000 troops - figures that are also believed to
be the highest among all churches.
In an effort to strengthen
local church ties to scouting, the Commission on United Methodist Men
will ask the church's General Conference to define the duties of a
scouting coordinator who would relate to the church council, the church
school superintendent and the coordinators of children and youth
ministries. Some churches already have such a coordinator, but many do
The coordinator would work with the pastor to plan Scouting
Ministries Sunday and promote recognition awards, including the Bishop's
Award of Excellence for scouting units, the Cross and Flame, and the
The commission discussed scouting, General
Conference legislation and other concerns during its July 17-20 meeting.
The legislative assembly will meet April 27-May 7 in Pittsburgh.
promote the formation of scouting units, the commission is encouraging
bishops across the denomination to host dinners in their annual
The denomination tops the list of churches using God
and Country Awards for scouts and youth. More than 8,400 were earned in
2002. The program includes God and Me for grades 1-3, God and Family
for grades 4-5, God and Church for grades 6-8, and God and Life for
grades 9-12. Some churches use this material as a part of confirmation
The commission is also inviting church leaders to
consider giving Good Samaritan Awards to youth ages 12-19. The awards
can be given to any scout or youth who demonstrates the attributes of
the Good Samaritan described in Luke 10:25-37. At its recent meeting,
the commission agreed to raise the top age to 21.
also learned that their agency, in partnership with the National
Association of Scouters and the United Methodist Foundation, led an
effort to send more than 8,500 Bibles to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New
Mexico this year. The Bibles are distributed to scouts who attend the
Protestant Chapel Service each evening at base camp.
information about scouting is available from the Office of Civic
Youth-Serving Agencies/Scouting, P.O. Box 340006, Nashville, TN
37203-0006; phone: (615) 340-7129. The National Association of United
Methodist Scouters has a Web page at www.naums.org.
# # #
*Peck is the communications coordinator for the Commission on United Methodist Men.
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