Currently, there are 1173 scout troops sponsored by Episcopal congregations in the US. 93,860 boys are involved in those troops. The Brotherhood of St Andrew was mandated by the 78th General Convention held in Salt Lake City UT in 2015 to “raise up the next generation of young men throughout the Episcopal Church.” One way that the Brotherhood intends to live the mandate is through increased Episcopal Church participation in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
The main photo above shows BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, on the left, and Brotherhood of St. Andrew President Jeff Butcher, shaking hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding between their respective organizations on 17 OCT 2016. The men were meeting at the DFW Airport Marriot Hotel, which is near the BSA’s national headquarters in Irving TX. The signing of the memorandum followed the meeting of the BSA Religious Relations Support Committee. The meeting brought together leaders from Christian and Jewish groups which sponsor Scout units. The groups shared their individual plans for their commitment to scouting for 2017.
The Brotherhood’s Jeff Butcher was quoted as remarking, “This document pledges the Brotherhood to take several steps to strengthen our support of Scouting. We now have a formal seat at the table, along with other denominations.” Through the memorandum, the Brotherhood has committed to the following;
- promote and increase its support further for Scouting units in Episcopal churches
- offer annual training sessions in churches wishing to sponsor Scout troops
- mentor young men undertaking the BSA’s God and Country program
- offer Brotherhood chapter involvement in every Scout troop
Other religious groups which sponsor BSA units in local congregations are Jews, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Latter-day Saints, Lutherans and churches of Christ. A new initiative that various Christian groups came together on was the publication of a New Testament & Psalms for scouts to use at future mass scouting events.
The BSA has dropped the regulation barring sexual minority youth* & adults. Individual sponsoring organizations are now free to select adult leaders which the organization believes best represents it ideals. Gay men and lesbians would be able to serve in the local scout units sponsored by their parishes as scout troop leaders and cub scout den mothers.
*There appears to still be a ban on transgender boys from participating in boy scouts and cub scouts.
Information and the photos for this article were gathered from the Episcopal News Service.