There is news in the past week that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) have made significant progress towards re-establishing relations after almost 20 years. Ain’t that Good News?
For the members of First Church who are actively involved in scouting leadership and-or with boys who are participating in local scout troops, this is certainly good news. For my recently deceased classmate and colleague, Michael P. Healy, Sr., it didn’t come soon enough, but I am certain that his Spirit is rejoicing over this step in a process of reconciliation.
Many, many UU congregations severed their ties with the BSA in 1998 over disagreements about the UUA’s “Religion in Life” award (created for UU scouts so they could fulfill their religion merit badge requirements) and the BSA’s ban on gay scouts and LGBT scout leaders. Congregations opted not to rent their space to local scout troops and many parents steered their boys away from boy scouting. Over the years, I have heard from older UUs who found their way into our congregations through their participation in scouting. Others still grieved the loss of the relationship between their congregation and the local scout troop that performed many acts of community service to the congregation.
A program called “Navigators” that was modeled on scouting, but with a liberal and co-ed format, was created and some UU congregations sponsored the organization of Navigator programs. In some places this filled the need; in others there wasn’t enough interest. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the Girl Scouts of America never had the same issues with UU-ism’s progressive stances on gender identity and sexual orientation.
First Church in Belmont used to have a relationship with the local BSA, but voted to cut ties like other UU congregations. FCB continued to rent space to GSA troops. And FCB families continued to be actively involved in the BSA.
Under the terms of the memorandum, each UU congregation will need to make its own decision about revisiting past policy decisions and FCB is no different in this respect. Expect to hear more about this in the months ahead. For more information and links to the memorandum between the UUA and the BSA, follow this link: www.uuworld.org/articles/renewed-relationship-boy-scouts-america.
As someone who, for a short time, was a Webelo — ask me in person about the story of how that happened — and whose siblings were all scouts, I applaud this reconciliation that has taken place at the national level. It is my hope that local congregations and local scout troops will also reconcile. I believe that healing relationships such as these is an important part of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
Yours in faith, Charlotte Lehmann, M.S., M. Div.
Mark Your Calendars – Events of Interest to Families
- Forty to None Day, April 27th. According to True Colors, “approximately 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), yet LGBT young people make up less than 7% of the general youth population.” The goal of True Colors is to reduce the disproportionate percentage from 40% to none (truecolorsfund.org/40tononeday/). If you are interested in helping to organize an event at FCB, contact Jess Hicks.
CRE Volunteer Opportunities for All at FCB
- Sign up to teach in any of the CRE classes on Sunday mornings: tinyurl.com/teachCRE. You will need to have recent background check (done by FCB in the last 2 years) or submit a new one using the form on-line: uubelmont.org/coriandsori/.
- Would your family like to lead the Chalice Lighting during the worship service one Sunday this year? CRE is coordinating this effort to involve families in this element of the worship service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. Click to sign-up: tinyurl.com/chalicelighting. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
- Non-parent teacher-volunteers are needed to assist our Childcare Provider, Denise Azar, in the Nursery at 9 and 11 am each Sunday. You can easily sign-up for this volunteer opportunity here: tinyurl.com/sundaynursery. You will receive an e-mail reminder.
Children’s Religious Education Program Registration and Information:
If you haven’t registered your children for CRE, please do so ASAP using the registration link found on the Children’s Religious Education page of the FCB website (www.uubelmont.org/childrens-re/) which allows you to register children from birth through 12thgrade. All children must be registered for CRE.
~ Charlotte Lehmann, Acting Director of Children’s Religious Education
Office hours: Tues-Weds, 10am-6pm. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.