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ASM915

Need Ideas For New Religious Relations Committee

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I have been tasked with starting a Religious Relations committee for our Council. I have read what is listed in the Relations Committee Handbook that relates to this committee.

 

I am intersted in hearing what other Councils are doing in with their committees besides Emblems promotions. How did you form & staff your committees? What other activities does your committee do or sponsor? How active is the committee with the camp chaplain? I am open for any and all ideas.

 

Thanks in advance.

ASM 915

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In some councils, I know of religious camporees (not for specific religions, but usually generic christian). One went with a different book of the Bible for their theme.

 

 

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As District Membership Chair, I was interested in seeing if I could get Catholic parish scout units to work together to support each other. Some are weak and others are strong.

 

To that end, I found that there is a Catholic Dioces Scouting Committee, and I visited a meeting of that organization.

 

The chair of that group is an experienced and charismatic Deacon, and he came out to a Roundtable breakout to which I'd invited Catholic Scout units. Several attended.

 

Most of his presentation was about the religious emblem award program.

 

I wasn't succesful in getting that cooperation between Scout units.

 

The bottom line is that there may be other such Scouting oriented committees for different religious faiths.

 

The same Deacon organizes and leads a Catholic Scouting summercamp as part of the regular summercamp program. One week Catholic units are encouraged to sign up and he organizes some religious activities during the week.

 

I'd like to see religious faiths take more interest in units chartered by their churches, perhaps having at least an annual meeting to discuss issues and coordinate programs and initiatives. Such a meeting could be part of a larger Council training program if desired.

 

I know there's a national Catholic Scout Committee --- perhaps other faiths have such a committee as well. Contacting such committees might make it easier to track down local committees and Scouters in your council's area.

 

 

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I would suggest checking out the national Scouting website for relationships related information.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Media/Relationships.aspx

 

Also there is a guide to various resources available, and I should note that your council can get bin number items at no cost:

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/04-400.pdf

 

You can also try reaching out to unit leaders to find out if their chartered organization has any sort of organized higher level relationship with Scouting, but many unit leaders will have limited knowledge of such things.

 

As Seatle mentions, the local Catholic Diocese will have a Committee on Scouting (and your council may include parts of multiple diocese, in which case establishing contact with all of those would be a thing to do).

 

To find who to contact in your area go to:

http://nccs-bsa.org/

And you can use this map to find the right diocese(s)

http://nccs-bsa.org/contacts/DiocesanContacts.php

 

Semilarly the Methodist Church and the United Methodist Men have endorsed Scouting as part of their programs, so you should probably look to build a bridge to the appropriate level of the United Methodist organization. More info at:

http://naums.org/

And

http://www.gcumm.org/ministries/scouting/

The Methodist have generally state level (sometimes smaller) diocese type organizations and they are supposed to have a Scouting Ministries Specialist who you could contact.

 

The LDS or Mormon Church also has very strong relations with Scouting, and it would be a good idea to find out how they are organized in your area, though I will deffer to one of our LDS Scouters to fill you in on how to go about finding the correct ward/stake officials and such.

http://www.lds-scouts.org/

 

Since these are the three biggest charter partners nationally, these would be good places to start. Also, if there is any particular religious group very supportive of chartering units in your council, add them to priority list. Finally, if you have lots of Scouts of one particular faith that would be another place to look. I wouldn't worry too much about activities and programs until after you start making some contacts with the relevant religious organizations and leaders.

 

I should note my own council is starting such a committee, and it has asked a representative from each major religious organization to join. Thus one or two from our diocesean Catholic Committee on Scouting will be joinging.

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Our subcommittee was formed when the Relationship & Membership Chair decided to form the subcommittees suggseted in the Relationship Committee handbook. Approximately 8 people stayed with the RR committee. Most of them were part of the original Relationship committee from way back (before my time). Average age, 70-75. This creates some unique issues which I'm trying to work through, most being set in their ways.

 

One person has a committee that started out mainly as a catch all for non-Catholic faiths aimed at Religious Emblems promotions. Over the last three years since committee formed, this committee has grown and has tried to hold a few events. The success has been very limited.

 

The person over this group has not been happy that the R&M chair went with a much younger person, and created a committee that may compete with her group. I have politely asked that her committee refocus back to RE promotions since she has around 5-6 different faiths represented at her meetings, mainly Protestant, one from the Jewish faith, & a LDS person.

 

At this time, the Catholic Diocesan chair is on the RR committee. I'm working on bringing the Methodist equivalent on board, and am looking to talk with someone from the LDS Stake. I'm still working on finding contacts for the other majors faiths represented within the Council.

 

One activity that Council has done for several years is a Religious Emblems Recognition dinner. That is one thing that will definetly be continued.

 

Thanks for thos who have responded so far. Keep the ideas coming. I'm open to any advice on how to handle the other situations mentioned.

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Don't be afraid to call National and ask to speak the the people in charge of religious relations. They're happy to help you get these committees started.

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ASM

 

While your quest is indeed a worthwhile one you may be tilting at windmills in your efforts to organize such a committee. First of all many denominations do not play well together, let alone planning an ecumenical religious retreat which many pastors would be dead set against because of "possible contamination of the boys religious beliefs."

 

Many cities have a group of pastors who meet once a month for breakfast or lunch to discuss ideas of common interests and that might be a good place to start. I belong to such a group and we have a variety of community leaders coming to our meetings to ask for our assistance on different issues affecting the city, schools etc.

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One thing I've always wished our Relationships committee did was make presentations to the local clergy associations about Scouting and the relationship between units and the Chareted Organization, religious emblems, service projects, etc. If your area is like ours, there may be a Council of Churches, and a variety of other clergy associations which have regular meetings. The opportunity to give a presentation, or just put up an info board about Scouting and answer questions would be a great thing for the committee to do. Anything to increase the understanding of Scouting by the various churches.

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Baden Panza,

Round up my steed Rocinante, oops I mean Gwenny, my son's 90lb shepard, and fetch me my helmet (bedpan) for head. I'll be tilting to the might oak with my shovel as we charge down the drive through the snow.

 

Baden & Information, good idea. This morning in our RR meeting (3 due to snow), we discussed sending letters out to the religious CO's IR/IHs to see if we could drum up some new committee members. We'll also make mention of it at RT, but felt we would have a better responseaway from RT because most of them are already tied to other committees.

 

Baden, it will be interesting to see how people work with each other. Most work well now.

 

The only issue that I'm seeing at this point is one group (multi-faith) that has been made a subcommittee, feel that they should be able to do what they want, when they want without having to answer to the larger committee. I'm still trying to be diplomatic for now. Soon my black & brown steed may have to charge in, with pan on head, and....

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