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mds3d

Should the Chaplaincy be organized?

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Just what the title says. As it is, BSA chaplains are un-registered/registered in another position. There is very little guidance or organization to what a chaplain is supposed to do other than a short page on the national website.

 

What I would propose is that Chaplain be a unique registration code that allows for dual registration in any position except SM. This is essentially the way it works now, except it would allow leaders to register as just a Chaplain. I would also propose that there should be district and council chaplains as well.

 

This is the purpose that directed me to this conclusion. In the other thread we have been discussing religious services at events. If an organized Chaplaincy service was in charge of such a service then multiple accommodations for all represented beliefs could be established.

 

Ex.

Majority is middle of the road protestant - A large service can be organized for them.

Ultra-conservative protestants object - Representative Chaplain organizes separate service for those troops and any individuals in other troops.

No Jewish troop/Chaplain, but 5 jewish boys and their fathers in 5 different troops - District chaplain contacts local synagogue and asks Rabbi to volunteer a solution for these boys. (not necessarily on Sunday).

Repeat for all represented beliefs.

---Maybe these arent always the best solutions, but problems are always best solved by an organized group of interested people instead of as afterthought.

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I agree on the organization of the Chaplains. You should check out what they do in the Texas Capital Area Council. They are organized into a Corps and have rather extensive training.

 

It appears that the best way to make this happen is to get the Council Relations Committee on board and active.

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Another idea would be to talk to the various religious committees in your council to see if they can establish a chaplain corps. Another idea is to contact any lay religious society's, i.e. Knights of Columbus, to see if they can help. I know in one area, the KCs built a chapel for Scouts to use, and pay for the chaplain to work summer camp.

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There is a tendency in to interpret the reference material on Scouting's Chaplaincy as requiring a Scouter Chaplain to be clergy. While a lot of this depends on the particular denomination's views on the priesthood of the believer, a unit with a lay Chaplain vs. a unit without a Chaplain clears up the question for me.

 

When I approached my pastor about us having a God & Country class, he quickly reviewed the guidelines and caught the phrase, "or the pastor's designee" and appointed yours truly! We are not called to do what is comfortable to us.

 

 

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Maybe I'm interpreting the original post wrongly, but it sounds like wanting BSA to have some aegis over the faiths' Chaplains. As has been pointed out, a Scout Chaplain need not be ordained, diplomaed clergy. The need is for a Chaplain to have the support and imprimatur of his/her faith. I am not knowledgeable about such things, but if I met someone with Chaplain patch on sleeve, or who presented themselves as a SChaplain, I would tend to respect them for that, and might ask what faith they represent? Such a Chaplain by rights would not only be expected to be knowledgeable about their own faith but be open and somewhat knowledgeable about others. How did they get a Scout Patch that reads "Chaplain" on their sleeve? Or a nameplate so decorated?

By garnering the respect of the Scout world with the support of some authority in their faith community.

 

For BSA to create a "POR" of Chaplain, there would need to be a set of formal "requirements" to meet. How to do that? Would the requirements be the same for a Catholic? A Jew? A Quaker? A Muslim?

When I applied to be a Friend (Quaker) Chaplain at the 2005 Jamboree, I presented some support from the national Friends Committee on Scouting, my home Meeting and that was sufficient. BSA accepted me as one of two Friend Chaplains. This was something new to our fellow Jambo Chaplains, as my colleague and I were not "ordained", not even named a "lay" minister like our fellow Mennonite Chaplain. But as everyone got to know each other, we were soon accepted and put to work. My colleague is his Troop's "Chaplain",but when I left the Jamboree, I was no longer an "official" Scout Chaplain. The idea has often preceeded me, however, and folks that know my history will ask me to lead grace, or help organize a Scout's Own (!) or ask for some Scout award information.

 

As to "organizing" Chaplains: I dare say all Councils that I have had contact with have a Religious Affairs or Relationships Committee, or some such. A Chaplain, no matter how moved to that position(by "spirit" or bishop's order, or perceived need), can find their way to join therein. "Networking for God"

We have no "organized Chaplaincy" probably because it is a good idea not to institutionalize the duty.

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As for national standards for chaplains, I believe their is a NCS course fro chaplains working in a summer camp setting. one of the best "chaplains" I ever met working camp was not ordained., but a seminary student that was recruited. It was a loss to the camp when he had to do his "internship" at a local church a few years later. Good news (to a degree) was that when one of our long term summer camp staffers passed away, the camp chaplain was able to do the service.

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I think a Chaplin POR would be great. I'd say a unit could also have as many as they want. i.e., why not have a Jewish Chaplin, Catholic Chaplin, Muslim Chaplin, etc... You could make it a district or council position to allow the Chaplin to serve multiple units like a commissioner does.

 

Not sure about organizing it past that. I'm not sure how much hierarchy we'd need in Scouting outside the unit level.

 

I think it would be helpful to have a sort of Chaplin's Roundtable/support group/committee in a District. It could meet regularly, focus on how to be a great Chaplin, common issues, expectations on what a Chaplin does, etc... Sometimes just having a group of folks to talk with about a role can make the role so much more effective.

 

 

 

 

 

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There's nothing at present preventing a unit or CO from designating a chaplain. An organized chaplaincy like mds3d and others propose is basically the role that a council or district relationships committee is supposed to play. I don't see how creating a separate position would really add or enhance anything.

 

Units should have chaplains, if the unit and CO desires. But district and council chaplains? No need. If the chaplains from the 10 troops gathered at the district camporee can't get together and, in the spirit of Scouting, organize services to meet the needs of their Scouts, they're not very good unit chaplains.

 

One of my concerns about designating district or council chaplains is that the chaplain's role is to serve the unit. Creating a hierarchy and organization outside of the unit tends to detract from that. I can just imagine some puffed-up pompous "District Chaplain" striding around at a camporee decreeing the correct way to say grace. Our goal should be to support the Scouts' families. After all, "the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

 

 

 

(Entirely tongue-in-cheek: This thread did get me thinking. To oversee the other elements of the Scout Law, we also clearly need a Cheerfulness Corps, composed of clowns, mimes and jugglers. A Loyalty Corps would require oaths to Irving to be sworn in blood [or at least red crayon]. The Thrifty Corps should launch a savings-and-loan for Scouts and leaders. And the Clean Corps will be composed of white-glove experts who check behind each Scout's ears to make sure he's washed properly.)

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