For Immediate Release
Contact:Vicki Biggs, 314-996-1236, 314-556-3829 (cell), @theLCMS
Harrison’s counsel: participation in scouting is matter for individual congregations
ST. LOUIS, October 7, 2013—The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), released a letter today advising congregations to make their own decisions on whether to sponsor troops with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
The letter was emailed to LCMS church workers after significant conversation and study of the effect of the BSA’s membership policy change announced May 23 to admit homosexual youth to scout programs. The summary message in Harrison’s letter is that, as it has been the church body’s practice for more than 50 years, the question of participation in scouting is a matter that is the domain of individual LCMS congregations.
In his letter, Harrison emphasized that “congregations desiring to participate in scouting should do so only after careful consideration and with a commitment to provide guidance and direction for the troop.”
To help congregations make an informed decision, Harrison’s letter included links to several documents:
- Participation in Scout-type Organizations for Boys: Considerations for LCMS Churches and Individuals
- Memorandum of Understanding: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and Boy Scouts of America
- Quotations from LCMS Conventions Regarding Scouting
- Boy Scouts of America: Why the Proposed Policy Change Matters (May 2013 statement by Harrison)
- Boy Scouts of America: What the Policy Change Means (May 2013 statement by LCMS Office of National Mission Executive Director Rev. Bart Day)
- Letter to Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee and to the Voting Members (March 2013 letter from Harrison)
Harrison concluded in his letter that both the Boy Scouts and Trail Life USA – a fledgling, Christian-based alternative scout program – “seek to aid in the formation of young men by instilling in them wholesome, positive values.”
“To this end, the church may be involved,” said Harrison. “The [LCMS] has seen scouting as an opportunity for witness and outreach to our communities, while at the same time serving our young men as they develop physically, socially and as citizens.”
To read the full text of the letter, visit www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful and search for the “Boy Scouts of America” tab.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a biblical, confessional, witness-oriented Christian denomination with 2.3 million members – 600,000 households – in 6,200 congregations. Through acts of witness and mercy, the church carries out its mission worldwide to make known the love of Jesus Christ. Learn more at www.lcms.org.