The United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America re-established a formal relationship today (Oct. 5) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding local UCC congregations chartering Scout troops.
Signed by Michael B. Surbaugh, BSA chief scout executive, and the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, the document affirms the recently-adopted BSA resolution that removed the restriction on gay adult leaders and employees, and formally states that UCC congregations chartering BSA units can conduct scouting programs according to their own values of inclusion and extravagant welcome for all.
The agreement follows similar recent moves by the Unitarian Univeralist Association, and the Union for Reform Judaism. About those earlier moves Zach Wahls an Eagle Scout, and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality had this to say, “We are planning to work with our members and partners to charter 1,000 new Boy Scout units in the next twenty-four months. With both the Unitarian Universalist Association and Union for Reformed Judiasim back, it’s clear we’re off to a great start.” Asked about the UCC’s new agreement with Boy Scouts of America, Cathie Adams, President of Texas Eagle Forum, and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas issued the following statement to Faith That Inspires Action, “I suggest that parents take note of what is being taught to their children in churches and schools. It must be consistent with their beliefs. If it is not, then they must protect their children from strange teachings. Train up a child in the way he should go is NOT only a suggestion. It is a tried and true principle that promises blessings to the children and their parents.”
Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president, who signed the agreement on behalf of The Church of Christ, had this to say, ” As a former Boy Scout growing up, and one committed to the open and affirming ministry of the United Church of Christ, it brought me a great deal of pride and satisfaction to be able to sign my name to that memorandum of understanding,”
Speaking about the July policy change that made this agreement possible Robert M. Gates National President of the Boy Scouts of America said ““Everyone associated with scouting agrees to follow national policies and comply with BSA’s behavioral standards; no youth may be denied membership to our organization on the basis of sexual orientation; and no council can deny a charter to a unit that is following the beliefs of its religious chartering organization.”
The UCC had pulled back from any formal ties and had withdrawn its letter of endorsement in 2001 because of BSA policies of excluding boys and men based on sexual orientation. The BSA changed its policy regarding youth in 2013.
The MOU states, in part, that “the United Church of Christ and the Boy Scouts of America will work cooperatively with each other within the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture scouting units as an expression of the nurture and outreach of the ministry of the United Church of Christ and its member congregations so that boys, young adults, and adults may grow in their relationships with God, develop into responsible citizens, serve the needs of others, and develop personal fitness to achieve their greatest potential.”
“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, scouting has been important to many congregations in United Church of Christ. Today UCC congregations sponsor more than 1,000 units of scouting with nearly 28,000 participants,” Schuenemeyer said. “Our commitments to justice and the inclusion of all people in the life of the church continue to call us to engage in actions that promote a just and peaceful world that affirms the gifts and ministry of each individual. That is why we welcome this opportunity to engage with colleagues in Scouting, the UCC and other faith traditions to foster inclusive Scouting programs.”
Read the text of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Editor’s Note: Large Portions of this article were taken from a United Church of Christ press release authored by Barb Powell.
TITUSVILLE, Fla., Oct. 6, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Everyone in America knows our cities need more love, kindness, and generosity. But no city in America has ever launched a #PayItForward movement for an entire community over 40 days.
But that all changed when church leaders in Titusville, Florida invited Brian Kluth, a leading generosity author and speaker, to help them plan and launch LovingNorthBrevard – #40DaysofGenerosity.
To kick off this first-ever event, 50,000 free #PayItForward cards were printed to unleash tens of thousands random acts of kindness over 40 days. Brian Kluth’s 40 Day Generous Life Bible devotional APP and #LoveInAction Ideas flyer were also made available for free.
Public schools sent home over 10,000 Community PayItForward cards for children and families to use and give out. Churches distributed thousands of the Christian version PayItForward cards that shares a video about God’s love. One man gave out 1000 slices of banana bread and 1000 PayItForward cards at offices of the Mayor, Police Chief, School Superintendent, Chamber of Commerce, hospital, and several public schools. As random acts of kindness are done and thousands of PayItForward Cards are given out, it will cause a chain reaction that will lead to tens of thousands of acts of kindness spreading exponentially city-wide and beyond.
McDonald’s said they are running out of gift cards because people are buying them to give away with PayItForward cards. Complete strangers have paid for people’s groceries or gas. Drive-thru restaurants and coffee shops have reported hundreds of people paying for the person behind them. Restaurant servers have tearfully shared stories of receiving big tips (50%, 100% or larger!) and of patrons paying for the bill of people they don’t even know. One person said this is helping thousands experience “God’s love from above.”
Beyond small acts of kindness, Appreciation Lunches for police officers and firemen are taking place. A single mom organized a free block party in a crime infested neighborhood. People helped a disabled man to replace his broken wheelchair. Kiwanis, Rotary, and others are raising $200,000 for the city’s first splash park.
One million people watched #40DaysofGenerosity news stories. Here’s a news clip from Orlando’s Fox TV35. Millions more heard Brian Kluth on Howard Dayton’s MoneyWise radio program and Christian TV45.
Organizers hope this will spread. A special #40DaysofGenerosity website has been created so anyone can get free materials and #PayItForward cards for use in their family, church, school, or community.
By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Editor FaithInspires.Org
When we think of God we are used to thinking in immense, bigger than life terms. We are used to the parting of the Red Sea. We are used to the story of Noah, where God flooded the entire world all at once. However it is God’s quality of being everywhere, all the time that allows him to attend to even the smallest of things. God in fact loves small things, and appreciates them greatly.
Consider first the words of Zecariah 4:10, “ Those who despise a time of little things will rejoice when they see the plumb line in Zerubbablel’s hand. These are the seven eyes of the Lord surveying the entire Earth.” So we see hear that God always has time for small things. The verse goes on to tell us that we will rejoice over small things.
Now combine this with the words we find at Matthew 10:30, ( a very similar verse is found at Luke 12:7) “ But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” How amazing is this ? When we brushed or combed our hair this morning we probably lost hairs. None of us could probably tell you for sure. But God knows. Not only does God know, we lost hairs, he knows which ones ! The more amazing thing is he knows this information for every head among the 8 billion+ people on Earth. Are we to wow yet ?
Scripture also tells us that God can work with, and help grow even the smallest quantity of faith. We learn this in Luke 17:6 which tells us, “ And the Lord said ‘ If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.’ Anybody that has cooked with it can tell you that a mustard seed is a very small seed. So small that a single one is barely visible. So no matter how small your faith is, if you are sincere in your faith, God can make a beginning and great things from it.
B.B. Warfield was a highly respected theology professor at Princeton university in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He had this to say “ In the infinite wisdom of the Lord of all the Earth, each event falls with exact precision into its proper place in the unfolding of his divine plan. Nothing however small, however strange, occurs without his ordering…” So nothing that happens in our life is too small or unimportant to warrant God’s notice, or if we allow him, his direct action.
As we have seen no action is too small for God. No thing is too small for God. No faith is too small for God to work with. No event in our lives is so small as to escape his attention. This gives us not just for reasons, but four categories of reasons to know and believe that God loves, and can appreciate small things.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights provides this commentary on coverage of the Jr. College shooting in Oregon.
NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Bill Donohue comments on media reaction to the Oregon killings:
Here is what Chris Harper-Mercer said to his victims just before he killed them: “Are you Christian?” After they stood up he said, “Good, because you’re Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.” He then shot them. Another eyewitness account said that after he asked if they were Christian, “then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”
The following media outlets were among those that reported on this story but never mentioned that Christians were singled out:
- ABC World News Tonight
- CBS Evening News
- NBC Nightly News
- PBS News Hour
- New York Times
- USA Today
- Daily Beast
- Huffington Post
- Associated Press [This accounts for why so many papers across the nation made no mention of Christians.]
If African Americans or Muslims had been singled out, President Obama would have gone ballistic, Al Sharpton would be calling for street rallies, and CAIR would be asking for congressional investigations. But because Christians are being cherry picked for murder, there is no call to arms. Indeed, many major media outlets aren’t even telling the truth. It’s obvious—”Christian Lives Don’t Matter”—either here or abroad.
It seems like only a moment ago my friend Frank Shelton, and I were talking about this new show he was putting together called By Faith. I remember how we both expectantly looked forward to that first episode. He is now at episode 16. As I finish watching each episode I wait expectantly for each new one. Each episode is different and unique, and the ways it blesses its viewers is even more so. As you watch episode 16, my prayer is it will bless you in ways that will supercharge your faith.
NEW CASTLE, Pa., Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In a meeting with United Way officials in New Castle this morning, the leadership of The New Castle Salvation Army delivered the news that they will be disaffiliating with United Way of Lawrence County. This decision, agreed upon by the local Salvation Army Advisory Board as well as The Salvation Army’s Divisional and Territorial Leadership, was based on the limitations for fundraising placed on The Salvation Army in comparison to the amount of money now being contributed by The United Way.
As is policy with many United Way funded non-profits, there are black-out periods in which those who receive funding from The United Way are not permitted to conduct their own fundraising activities. Over the years, the amount of money The Salvation Army has received from The United Way of Lawrence County has dwindled to the point where it is no longer feasible to adhere to such fundraising restrictions. Funds received from The United Way have gone from an all-time high of $20,000 in 2008 to only $3,710 in 2014. “With 2014’s amount representing less than 2% of its overall budget, it doesn’t make sense to continue to be held to restrictions preventing The Salvation Army from fundraising from September 1 – November 30,” said Captain Christopher Williams. The Salvation Army has been blessed by the financial support that it has received from The United Way over the years and has certainly been grateful for the relationship shared with the agency. However, the main concern of the New Castle Salvation Army is to raise the funds needed to assist local individuals and families in need.
With the Christmas season approaching and the need in the area continuing to grow, The Salvation Army is asking the community to rally support to help The Salvation Army reach the Christmas Kettle Campaign goal of $68,000 to ensure that our neighbors in need are served. There are many ways that help can be provided, including sponsoring kettles, volunteering as bell ringers, soliciting friends and associates through on-line red kettles, and donating generously. For more information on how you can support the New Castle Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Campaign, please contact Captain Christopher Williams at 724.642.7921 or by email at: Christopher.Williams@use.salvationarmy.org
Celebrating 150 years of global service as both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today, it provides critical services in 127 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. The Salvation Army…doing the most good for the most people in the most need. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log on to www.wpa.salvationarmy.org