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Non-denominational Sunday Service

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We are having our crossing over campout this weekend and we're (for the first time to my knowledge) wanting to do a scout sunday service... no one stepped up so I'm going to do it... I was told to make it completely non-denominational as we have several different faiths represented as well as a Jewish family. I have NO clue how to accomplish this...does anyone have anything you'd care to share as I don't want to offend but do feel it is important to have one.

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Also, look for a copy of "Reverence: A Resource for Interfaith, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Worship at Scouting Events" (No. 34248) in your Scout Shop.


If you have time, google "Scouts Own" for a ton of online resources.


Finally, don't let the naysayers get you down -- I think its a great idea, as long as attendance is voluntary.

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Its kind of funny, but you can do almost anything you want provided "Jesus" is mentioned. Sign of the times I guess.


You've received great advice from the forum. I have found that a prayer to start, a song to follow, then a few short readings out of the bible followed with a prayer and a song pretty much gets the job done in 15 minutes with no complaints. Find readings that are generic to positive attitudes or perspectives and keep the prayers short and simple so the boys don't get antsy. I think that is basically what you will find with Scouts Own. If you have guitar, the music goes really well.


I love this scouting stuff.



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As said by Fred, completely voluntary.


There are some of us Christians who are rather upset about "mix and match" worship. My God tells me, in Law and Gospel, that He is a jealous God.


I would talk with your Pastor as well as you plan and design this.

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Here's an outline of the Scout's Own I put together for our first-ever pack campout last summer:


1. Invocation - An American Indian Call to Worship


2. Opening Song - Kum Ba Yah


3. What is a Scout's Own? - Short (2-3 minutes) talk touching on the following items:

a. Reflect on star hike and any wildlife moments from camp.

b. Isnt it nice to get out of town, spend time in the woods, and reconnect with nature?

c. Reminds me of how wonderful this world is that God created, and it makes me feel good to be part of it.

d. Robert Baden-Powell, the founder Scouting, believed no man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.

e. Thats why he made Reverence and Duty to God an important part of being a Scout.

f. He is the one who originated the notion of Scout's Own, a gathering of Scouts for the worship of God and to promote fuller understanding of the Scout Law and Promise.

g. Youll probably notice that this service is not like any other worship service you have been to.

h. A Scouts Own is in not meant to be a substitute for a Scouts regular religious observances.

i. Instead, it is an opportunity for all Scouts, regardless of their personal faith, to come together and acknowledge God and his creation and ourselves as part of it.


4. Inspirational Message - When You Walk Through The Woods (by Ian Ross)


5. Silent Prayer


6. Act of Friendship - Colors (based on a Native American legend)


7. Inspirational Message - Big at Heart (from Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul)


8. Song - God Is Big (by Frank Hernandez)


9. Benediction - Scoutmaster's Benediction


The length of the entire service was less than 30 minutes, and it was very well received by the families that attended. In fact, I have been asked to do it again this summer.


I found everything except for the Big at Heart story on the Internet. I am happy to share the materials I prepared with anyone who sends me a PM.


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Part of the problem is one of clear communications and an understanding of the terms being used.


Nondenominational, interfaith, nonsectarian, interdenominational, are often used in scouting conversations interchanged with one another (on and off of this forum), yet they all mean different things, and none refer to a worship service that respects ALL beliefs. You cannot have a single worship service that will respect the beliefs of everyone present unless you know for a fact that some common doctrine or belief exists that is shared by everyone present.


Unless you know the faith characteristics of every single participant at the celebration then the only thing you know for sure they have in common is that have all promised to follow the values of scouting. So the best way to accomplish the goals of the scout worship activity to to focus on that shared belief and give each person a way to draw a connection between the scouting values and their personal beiefs on their own without pressing upon the situation the beliefs of one faith or all faiths.


You can tell of how other faiths have elemnts of the Oath and Law in their beliefs, without having to ask the participants to pray or worship as other beliefs pray or worship.


A Hindu should not be asked to pray the Lord's Prayer and a Christian should not be asked to pray to the gods of the American Indian.




(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Don't forget a period of "Silent Worship". Just sit and listen to the woods around you.


Since I wouldn't want to subject anyone to my singing (except perhaps at a campfire), I counsel leaving singing off the menu.


Then too, "All Gods Critters have a Place in the Choir" is one of my favorite hymns.

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If you are absolutely sure that 100% of the families are Judeo-Christian, then some selections of readings from the Old Testament might be appropriate, as these would held in common reverence by all; but, avoid anything from the NT. On the other hand, if there is any chance that any of the families are not Judeo-Christian (and, you can't tell just by looking!) then it would be best to avoid theological content, and, as BobWhite suggests, stick to elements of Reverence that everyone can agree on. Those are pretty basic.


Have a fun camput!

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If you "avoid anything from the New Testament", you are denying Jesus. I recently participated in a Scout's Own which used that very concept. It made me rather uncomfortable.


In another forum we recently beat this subject to a pulp. The bottom line is that anytime you mention religious concepts of any flavor in a group setting you will likely risk upsetting someone's beliefs.


Perhaps better to leave worship entirely to the individual. If we believe in the 12th Point of the Law, we might instead leave a time for each and all to worship on their own, in their own way.

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"If you are absolutely sure that 100% of the families are Judeo-Christian, then some selections of readings from the Old Testament might be appropriate,"

First, I am a Christian and I don't necessarily like "interfaith" messages. Some of them that I've been to were... well, korny. I would prefer to go to listen to a message where I can hear and respond as I'd like.

However, as quoted, if all are Jewish & Christian, you could take a look at the life of Joseph and talk about his integrity and faith and how he was rewarded for staying true. You could even work that into the points of the Scout Law. I'd be totally OK with a message like that.



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