BY CHRIS LIEN,
Chaplain for Mendon Troop 105
Each year, the Boy Scouts of America designates the Sunday that falls before February 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) as Scout Sunday with the following Saturday as Scout Sabbath. For faithful Scouts who regularly pledge their duty to God and recognize the importance of being a reverent Scout, the annual weeklong event provides an opportunity to put their faith in action at their respective place of worship.
Both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America recognize the importance of faith and a belief in God, while strictly taking a nonsectarian position regarding the definition of God or the practice of religion. In the case of the Boy Scouts, membership in their organization requires acceptance of their Declaration of Religious Principle statement which essentially requires a belief in God. This recognition of the importance of God in a young person’s life has been in place since the foundation of these youth organizations.
Scouts that wish to put their faith in action can serve in a number of roles at their place of worship. This includes serving as a greeter, usher, acolyte, crucifer, lector, altar boy, or simply proudly wearing their scout uniform while attending worship services. Oftentimes, Scout Sunday or Scout Sabbath is also an opportunity to award a religious emblem from the Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) organization; a non-profit organization aimed at fostering the Christian growth of children, youth, and families through churches and youth serving agencies. P.R.A.Y. provides age specific workbooks and materials for scouts to explore and complete in an effort to better understand their faith and form a deeper connection to their God.
At St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mendon, Scout Sunday has been an important annual event for both the boys and the girls. In addition to the scouting youth serving in various worship service roles, a children’s message is often taught to the younger children during the worship service. This year, the children’s message will use a compass and map to symbolize the importance of belief in God (compass to point in the right direction) and practice of religion (following the map) as a guide for a healthy and happy life.
St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church also hosts a Scouting display where scouting members past and present can proudly display their various badges and photo albums. There will also be a special cake and celebration in the fellowship hall immediately after worship. If you’re a Scout, Scouter, or part of a Scouting family check with your place of worship to see if they support Scout Sunday or Scout Sabbath or feel free to attend the 9 a.m. worship service on February 5th at St. Mark Lutheran Church located at 18 Victor-Mendon Road.