By Larry Coppock
While serving as scouting ministry director for the commission, I am privileged to attend and participate on the Religious Relationships Committee, Boy Scouts of America. Representing The United Methodist Church, I am fortunate to work closely with volunteer leaders from a host of faith groups and denominations including: Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Episcopalians, Jewish, Muslim and many, many others.
Within that setting our committee is divided into subcommittees that address national initiatives that include training and events, literature review and development, chaplaincy, awards and emblems and membership. Needless to say, over the years many diverse opinions have contributed to the shaping of what becomes ‘the final product.’
One of proudest accomplishment that I have had the pleasure to participate in was the printing of a New Testament (NRSV) designed to be distributed to all four BSA high adventure bases (Philmont, The Summit, Florida Sea Base and Northern Tier) this summer. While in the past several denominations sent New Testaments to Scouts on the trail at these bases separately, 2015 marks the first year of a unique collaboration.
The Association of Baptists for Scouting, Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting, the Catholic Committee for Scouting, and the National Lutheran Association on Scouting joined the United Methodist Church (via the GCUMM) in providing funds to purchase 20,000 New Testaments for distribution to the four high adventure sites.
While sometimes it is challenging for faith groups with very diverse teachings to work together, the Boy Scouts of America, through its Religious Relationship Committee, offers a unique venue for collaboration and partnership. The high adventure New Testaments are indeed a testament to the servant leadership of the members of this committee to share the Good News.
Praise the Lord!
Larry W. Coppock
National director of Scouting Ministries and director
General Commission on United Methodist Men