New partnership agreement links PC(USA), Scouting association

Signed last week, pact continues and expands relationship into another century

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

From left to right are Ray Jones, Phil Melberg and Stephanie Fritz. They three gathered for the signing of a pact that connects the PC(USA), the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters and the Boy Scouts of America. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — During last week’s Presbyterian Mission Agency Board meeting, a new missional relationship among the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Boy Scouts of America and the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters (NAPS) was signed. The agreement continues and expands the relationship between the PC(USA) and NAPS into another century.

Before the signing, Ray Jones, the acting director for Theology, Formation and Evangelism, introduced NAPS president Phil Melberg. After Melberg expressed gratitude for the partnership, Christian Formation Associate Stephanie Fritz prayed for the Scouting ministry.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Boy Scouts of America have provided a mutually beneficial partnership for youth and adults for more than a century (1918-2018). Local PC(USA) congregations now charter Scouting units with a combined registered membership that exceeds 146,000 youth and adults in more than 3,800 Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams and Venturing crews across the nation.

Ray Jones, the acting director for Theology, Formation and Evangelism, signs the agreement. (Contributed photo)

The new missional relationship reaffirms the need to serve youth. Under the agreement, the PMA agrees to:

  • Encourage each Scouting unit to have a registered adult volunteer to work with chaplains in providing resources and religious programs to youth, parents and clergy.
  • Urge every chartering congregation to utilize the Celtic Cross and God and Service Presbyterian awards to recognize and honor faithful volunteers.
  • Encourage clergy to participate as chaplains for their respective Scouting units.
  • Encourage all youth of a chartering congregation to expand their spiritual growth.
  • Affirm the Boy Scouts of America commitment to a culture of youth protection and training required of all working with youth.

NAPS and the Boy Scouts of America agree to include a representative of the PMA (or a designee) as an ex officio board member of NAPS who will annually share mission priorities and encourage councils to promote PC(USA) membership growth and retention, especially in Scouting units that are chartered by Presbyterian congregations.

Sixty Presbyterian congregations have chartered a Scout unit for 100 consecutive years. They were recognized for this achievement during the 223rd General Assembly (2018).

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