Scouts attend a United Methodist worship service at the National Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.
The Boy Scouts of America approved a new policy to accept gay Scouts. The policy begins Jan. 1, and will not change the relationship between the Commission on United Methodist Men and BSA.
The May 23 action taken by voting delegates to the annual membership meeting is the result of a requested rule change by BSA executives.
The United Methodist Church, and specifically the General Commission on United Methodist Men, did not have a vote in this matter, nor did other faith groups that serve as chartering organizations of the Boy Scouts of America. The change in membership standards was initiated by BSA.
It is our hope and prayer that future membership-standard considerations will begin with BSA’s Religious Relationship Task Force, a committee composed of representatives from various faith groups that represent 70 percent of BSA’s units and 62 percent of its membership.
The Commission will continue to support various ministries to young people through local congregations, including BSA, Girl Scouts of the USA, Camp Fire USA, 4-H and Big Brothers Big Sisters. All of these civic youth-serving agencies provide enrichment experiences and opportunities for leadership development. Through these ministries, local United Methodist churches are able to welcome families into their buildings and their ministries.
The Commission will continue to support scouting and other civic youth-serving organizations, and staff and board members will make every effort to encourage executives of these agencies to include faith communities in their decision making processes.