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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. This year, Scout Sunday will be observed on February 5, 2017. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week. The Scout Law says that a “Scout is Reverent” and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their “Duty to God”. These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith.
In 1960, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] endorsed Scouting as viable part of their youth ministry and created the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS]. This was the first agency created by SCOBA and presently an agency under The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.
The EOCS Executive Board encourages all Orthodox Churches to recognize and celebrate this Scout Sunday even if their church does not sponsor a Scout unit. Anyone interested in their good work can go to the EOCS website at www.eocs.org to learn more about Scouting and the Orthodox Church. This year will be the National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia from July 23. Once again the EOCS will be sponsoring an Orthodox booth, holding services and meetings with Orthodox Scouts from around the country and around the world. I would encourage all Orthodox Scouts to attend and be involved at the Jamboree.
Some Scout Sunday Ideas:
- If your parish sponsors a Scout unit have them arrive in full uniform.
- If the church does not have a Scout program, have the Scouts come in uniform. Many priests are aware of Scout Sunday and will discuss Scouting at some point of the service. You can have the uniformed Scouts:
- Serve at the candle table in the narthex
- Serve as Ushers
- Help pass the collection tray
- Help serve during the coffee hour
- And any suggestions from the parish priest
- Present Eastern Orthodox Religious Scout Awards and/or any other Scout Awards earned.
- Have a Scout Display and recruitment.
- Think of sponsoring or establishing a Scout unit in your parish.
- Approach a local Scout unit and give them ideas for service projects which can benefit your parish and community.
- Look at the many Orthodox Scout awards and encourage your Scouts to earn them. Scouting has proven to develop stronger church membership and it is a natural fit. Good Scouts make better Church members and good Church members make better Scouts.
- Volunteer to assist the local Scout troop/pack/crew.
- Take a collection and contribute funds to the EOCS so they can continue their good work. Think about establish a local EOCS committee so all Orthodox Scouts in the region can gather and support one another.
May the Lord God send His Blessings upon our Scouts, our leaders and the many volunteers across the United States of America.
+ Bishop DANIEL
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States
Episcopal Liaison to the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting