Photo: Students in a God and Me class at Salem (N.C.) UMC proudly display the game boxes they made during one of the classes.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. –– One out of every four participants in the PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) is a member of the UMC or a member of a Boy Scout Troop, Girl Scout troop or a Cub Scout pack sponsored by a UM church.
The St. Louis-based PRAY program offers four studies and awards: God and Me (grades 1-3), God and Family (grades 4-5), God and Church (grades 6-8), and God and Life (grades 9-12).
Young people who complete all four studies receive a Four Star Award.
In 2011, awards were presented to 26,072 young people; 6,642 were presented by UM congregations (25.4%).
In 2010, a total of 27,789 young people completed the former God and Country studies to receive a PRAY award; 7,239 were presented by UM churches (26.05%).
The Top Five BSA Councils are ranked as follows:
5). Greater St. Louis Council #312 468 Religious Awards Reported
4). Circle Ten Council #571 472 Religious Awards Reported
3). National Capital Area Council #082 543 Religious Awards Reported
2). Sam Houston Area Council #576 680 Religious Awards Reported
1). Heart of America Council #307 716 Religious Awards Reported
Jeff Cook, scouting coordinator for the Missouri Conference North Region and a 24-year Leader in the Heart of America Council BSA, is the course director for the 13-year-old Kansas City North program based out of North Cross UMC in Kansas City.
“We are the largest annual program in the nation running the PRAY methodology, said Cook. “A total of 1,285 youth have earned their Religious award since 1999.”
One hundred and fifteen young people in the region have earned a Four Star Award in the seven-year history of the award (nearly 9 percent of the national total). Seventy-eight of the Four Star Award winners in the Kansas Cithy North classes were United Methodists.
“We serve all denominations in our program, but the largest percentage by far is those from UM churches, with a much higher percentage rate than the national PRAY rate,” said Cook.
For more information about the PRAY Program, visit www.praypub.org.