Connection between churches and Scouts goes back many years
Published 12:58 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018
It comes as no surprise that churches are sponsors of many Boy Scout troop, after all the Boy Scouts of America’s Scout promise includes the words “to do my duty to God and country.”
Troop 21, sponsored by First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Washington, and Troop 99, sponsored by First United Methodist Church in Washington, are part of the Blackbeard District, one of the districts that make up the East Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
“A lot of our lay persons are involved in terms of being in the leadership of the Scouts. This is a ministry that’s been present here at the church for a long time. I’m not sure of the exact number of year, but surely for a good little while,” said the Rev. Ken Hall, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church. “Among our people who are involved, they would see it as an extension of the work of the church. “I think the church has done a pretty good job in terms of supporting the young men in the Scouts.”
Hall said evidence of that support was the church allowing the Scouts to conduct a fundraising event at the church for an Eagle Scout candidate’s project. “So, we opened our facilities for him to use that,” Hall said.
Sometimes, churches benefit from Boy Scout projects, especially projects by Eagle Scout candidates. That’s what happened at Asbury United Methodist Church. William Christopher McFadden, with help from other Troop 21 Scouts, built a rock garden and improved the beddings at the church’s entrance. McFadden died in October 2011.
The involvement of churches with Scouts, especially Protestant churches, goes back to the early days of the Scouting movement.
“Of the 7,375 registered troops at the close of 1915, more than 4,000 were chartered to Protestant churches, and 1,645 Scoutmasters were ministers. When church troops became numerous, some of the denominational bodies decided to give recognition to the values of Scouting as a resource for the churches in their youth ministries,” reads a fact sheet from Boy Scouts of America. “Among the earliest endorsements were from the Northern Baptist Convention, 1918;
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1918; United Lutheran Church in America, 1918; Congregational Churches, 1919; Methodist Church, 1919; and Southern Baptist Convention, 1923. Today, Protestant churches have organized more than 26 percent of all packs, troops, and crews, making them the largest user of the Scouting program.”
Over the years, numerous Protestant churches have endorsed the Boy Scouts of America program, from the African Methodist Episcopal Church to Church of the Nazarene to the Moravian Church (northern and southern provinces) to The Salvation Army.