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While others headed to malls, scouts from Long Island (NY) packs and troops hiked to Temple Tikvah, Hillside Islamic Center, Notre Dame Catholic Church, New Hyde Park Baptist Church, Vaishnav Hindu Temple, First Presbyterian of New Hyde Park and Christ Lutheran Church. “Gain something that you can’t get at the malls, something that is not perishable,” said Jerry Katz of the Nassau County Boy Scouts. “You can find out what you have in common with each other,” said Cub Scout Maddie Rothstein. “Yes, I’m learning. I’m learning about God,” said 6-year-old Logan Cook. For some it was their first visit to an Islamic Center. The children took off their shoes and opened their hearts. “They guide us to understand how we need to serve each other, this is what scouting, what religion is all about,” said Shaykh Ibad Wali of the Hillside Islamic Center. Deven Kirpalani, a Nassau County boy scout, was proud one of the stops was his Hindu temple. “We are tying this all into the ten commandments, and we are bringing this into our daily lives and into our scouting lives,” Deven said. “Sometimes go to churches with my friends and then sometimes they might come to my temple, ” said Cub Scout Sarah Scotch. Scouts and their leaders hope a day sharing tolerance and acceptance will promote unity among nationalities and faiths, coinciding with the start of the holiday season. Boy Scouts of America will soon be dropping the word “boy” from its namesake program, since the tradition now includes girls. https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/11/23/boy-scouts-take-part-in-peace-hike-visit-variety-of-religious-institutions/
Posted March 21, 2019 Boy Scouts made rosaries during a Scout retreat sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Committee on Scouting. The theme of the day-long retreat was “Champions of Christ: Military Saints and Chaplains.” More details and photos at source link http://catholicphilly.com/2019/03/news/people-and-events/scouts-on-retreat-make-rosaries-for-u-s-military/
Scouts working on their "Communication" merit badge need to lead one of 3 types of troop events: a Court of Honor, a Campfire, or a "Scouts Own" Interfaith Worship. Over the years, I've noticed that the boys view being the Court of Honor MC as the most prestigious of the three, leading a Campfire as the most fun, and that leaves "Scouts Own" Interfaith services as the event that is least often done (but by extension, is the most available to any scout who wants to knock out the requirement because most of the other boys won't be fighting over the role -- view that option as an opportunity if you want to earn the badge quickly). That's really too bad because I think Duty to God is one of the most important values in scouting and because I think it can be challenging and fun to put together an interfaith worship service. I've accumulated quite a few pointers, tips, and rubrics for putting these events together and I've sat through quite a few on campouts and training events. Some are absolutely sublime! And of course, some are....errrr....not quite as sublime. I've been thinking about what makes an interfaith worship event work (or not work), and I've come up with six pointers that I'll call "Best Practices" (though, I'm sure somebody will come up with a couple more that I should have thought of, or maybe has a better idea than one of my tips --- after all, only God is perfect.) I start off by focusing on the two absolutely essential core attributes of a good interfaith worship. GOALS: Reverence to God Respect for all attendees I hope these are understood by everyone. I hope everyone agrees that these two goals are obvious and are correct. In my opinion, Reverence to God means that the interfaith activity focuses solely on spirituality and the concepts of God and reverence that are widely understood and embraced by most (if not all) major religions. I don't like being cheated or conned in any aspect of life, and when it comes to worship, I will feel cheated if somebody abuses my faith in God to sell me products, deliver political diatribes, or misuse the service as a venue for patriotic songs or slogans. All of these may have a legitimate place in our society, but that place is not at a respectful celebration of God and his works. Most scouting units accept members from a variety of different faiths and beliefs. The interfaith service should welcome all and promote fruitful reflection by all participants. Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable or inferior. I've looked at a lot of the resources, templates, and programs from past interfaith events, and few seem to fully embrace both goals as well as they could. Most could be improved by adopting one or more of the following six "best practices" that I think can help scouts and scouters alike to enjoy more respectful and reverent interfaith worship services. SIX "BEST" PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Focus on Common Values There are differences between the world's major religions. But there are also commonalities shared between most (or all) of the religions. Avoid the differences and promote the commonalities and you're more likely to have a service that invites no controversy, dissent, or bad feelings. Common values include: Peace, Love, Compassion, Equality, Honesty, Justice, Life, Optimism, and Respect. 2. Focus on Spirituality God is the focus of the service. Anything you put in the program that distracts from God's wisdom and values is inappropriate. Several scouts use patriotic songs like "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" in their services. These songs are not about God or his will. Think about it: God created all of humanity, so men of every nation on Earth are his children. Why would God appreicate your telling people to ignore his goals of equality and justice to favor only people born in or dwelling in one small piece of arbitrarily defined geography? I don't think that's a very reverent thing to do and I find it offensive when scouts do it because people should put God before country (and every other "false God"). 3. Respect All Religions Although most scouting families in BSA are of one Christian faith or other, many are not. God treats all his children as equals, so we must respect our brothers and sisters. Many scouts do an excellent job of choosing their readings or songs wisely, avoiding teachings or philosophies that are sectarian. Some scouts could do better. One thing I would avoid are any scripture readings that are not of a universal nature (Christian faiths can avoid those from the New Testament, especially the ones that specifically talk about "Jesus" or "Christ" since these obviously are of Christian interest, but may be most likely to not align with non-Christian faiths). Similarly, other faiths may want to avoid references to their particular saviours or prophets, including perhaps, Buddha, Allah, Confucious or others, to name but a few). 4. Stay True to Scouting Values Scouting values are religiously neutral, but all of them align with the "Common Values" I mentioned in point 1 of this list. We have a Scout Oath, a Scout Law, and an Outdoor Code. We learn these as Webelo Scouts and as we work on our Scout rank, and we repeat them hundreds of times through our scouting careers. These values mean something. They are good things to work into our interfaith services. Many scouts have found ways to interpret the Scout Law in light of spiritual teachings. Many religions today embrace conservation and the environment as core values of their faith. For example, Pope Francis wrote a long book called Laudato Si, in which he explains how respect for life means we respect our planet's life support systems, and when you damage our Earth, you commit an offense against humanity, life itself, and God. Yeah, I know: the Pope can't speak for non-Christians. Nonetheless, other faiths have come to a similar realization that conservation is not just a matter of life and death, it's also a matter of faith, so this is evidently now more of a "common value". If you're conducting an interfaith service in an outdoor environment, why not find a song that celebrates the natural world God created for us....or find or create a benediction that puts Earth's life support system in our thoughts and prayers. (I've included a few pointers to useful resources at the end of this post). 5. Make It Fun An interfaith service should be enjoyable. Not boring. Limit the time to help scouts stay focused on spirituality (if you're going more than 15-20 minutes, you're boring the scouts). Have a couple songs. Do a reading. Invite a few other scouts to speak. These things will keep scouts focused. 6. Use Common Sense There are points I make here that won't apply to every worship service in every unit. In our local troop, scouts of all faiths are welcome. There is a troop nearby that is part of an LDS church --- all their scouts are members of their own faith. That troop should ignore my recommendations about readings, terminology, etc and feel free to celebrate the way their customs dictate. After all, if nobody's sensibilities would be offended by talking about Jesus' teachings, then have at it! Similarly, I know of Muslim troops and Jewish troops chartered by their own religious organizations. Of course they should celebrate the way they see fit....I'm sure it will please God and respect all in attendance. RESOURCES: Interfaith Worship Service Planning Worksheet https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/worksheet08182008.pdf Big Book of Scout Worship Services http://scoutsown.sdicbsa.org/Website we4-49-09_files/ScoutsOwnWorksheet.pdf Environment and Sustainability Prayers https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/sustainability-prayers MacScouter's Big "A Scout is Reverent" Resource Book http://www.macscouter.com/ScoutsOwn/docs/BBRevrnt.pdf
This just hit my FB feed. http://scoutingmagazine.org/2015/02/new-requirements-explore-duty-to-god/ Of note, for Boy Scouts... What is changing in Boy Scouting? The Scout Spirit requirement for each rank starting with Tenderfoot is expanding to have the Scout describe how he has done his duty to God. (The new requirements will be released at the National Annual Meeting in May.) When will the new Boy Scout requirements take effect? Jan. 1, 2016. Find more information about the transition plan and requirements at scouting.org/programupdates. How can I evaluate a Scout for duty to God, especially if he and I have different beliefs? Consider asking him how his family or faith group defines duty to God and how he is living up to that definition. Remember that the focus is on the Scoutâ€™s understanding of duty to God, not the leaderâ€™s. Also, keep in mind that duty to God will be only one part of the Scout Spirit requirement. Do boys have to earn the religious emblem for their faith? No. Not every youth is a member of a faith group, and not all faith groups offer religious emblems. Earning one is not a requirement. As the BSAâ€™s Declaration of Religious Principle states, â€œThe Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.â€ Have fun, Unit Serving Leaders...