· Scouting, Strength for Service

Larry Coppock named top executive of SFS Corporation

NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Larry Coppock, director of scouting and youth-serving agencies for the General Commission on UM Men, will retire from that position on June 1, 2018, to become executive director of the Strength for Service (SFS) Corporation.

Meeting at the commission office, Sept. 29-30, the 12-member SFS Board of Directors, voted to remove the word “acting” from Larry’s present title as “acting executive director.”

The 20-year veteran Scout leader has been involved in providing Strength for Service books since 1999. That’s the year Evan Hunsberger first conceived of the idea of republishing Strength for Service to God and Country, a book of daily devotions created for military troops in 1942 by the Methodist Publishing House.

Evan, a 17-year-old Roman Catholic Boy Scout, proposed republishing the historic book as his Eagle Scout project.

It was natural for the leader of scouting in the UMC to help the Eagle Scout candidate republish a Methodist book. Larry became the point person in securing rights from the UM Publishing House, securing the support of the Defense Department, adding 40 devotions from current religious leader, and raising funds for the republishing effort. In 2013, Larry was also instrumental in editing and publishing Strength for Service to God and Community, a similar book written for police officers, fire fighters and other first responders.

In 2014, the commission created the SFS Corporation, a non-denominational 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. L.W. Smith, a South Carolina leader of UM Men, was elected president, and Larry was named “acting executive director,” a post he held along with his chief responsibilities as leader of scouting ministries in the UMC.

“The United Methodist Church in second largest sponsoring organization for Boy Scouts in the world, and we are number one in Cub Scouts,” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the commission. “There is one simple reason for that ranking.  For the last 20 years, Larry has begun each and every day working to expand our scouting ministry. He has done an outstanding job, and has been a great member of our team, working with scouting ministry on a national level with all our scouting partners, and the UMM Foundation and with SFS.”

SFS is thankful and blessed to have Larry serve as executive director,” said L.W. Smith. “His love and commitment to this ministry will help us fulfill our purpose to distribute devotional books to the military and first responders.”

Addressing his experience with the commission, Larry says, “It has been my great honor to serve as director of scouting ministries for the commission for more than 20 years, I have been blessed beyond my expectations. I have met some of the most awesome volunteer servant leaders. We have moved scouting ministry forward in partnership fashion. I shall cherish these special relationships for as long as I live.

Looking forward to his role as executive director of the SFS Corporation, Larry says, “With the advent of SFS many years ago, I feel a stronger call to that ministry which has its roots in scouting. I look forward to serving as executive director alongside board members, an advisory group, and many donors and friends to better position SFS in its mission to resource first responders and military with devotional material.”

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