Show of faith: Ideas for how to honor Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath

scout-sunday-programSunday will be a big day at churches across the country. And no, I don’t mean Broncos and Seahawks fans stopping by to say a prayer for their teams.

I’m talking about Scout Sunday, a chance for faith-based chartered organizations to celebrate and recognize Scouting and for Scout units to show their appreciation for the religious institution that supports their unit.

This Sunday (Feb. 2), at churches nationwide, you’ll see Scouts and Scouters in uniform greeting the congregation, participating in worship services, earning religious awards and conducting service projects to benefit their place of worship.

By official BSA designation, Scout Sunday is always the Sunday that falls before Feb. 8, Scouting Anniversary Day. In years when Feb. 8 falls on a Sunday, such as 2015, the BSA’s birthday and Scout Sunday are combined into one glorious day.

Scout Sabbath, for Jewish Scout units, is always the Saturday after Scout Sunday. This year, it falls on Feb. 8, 2014, meaning Jewish Scout units get their special day on the BSA’s actual birthday.

All of that said, chartered organizations may choose any Sunday to celebrate Scout Sunday or any Saturday to recognize Scout Sabbath. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA), for example, celebrate Scout Sunday on the second Sunday of February.

At the most recent count, religious organizations make up 65 percent of chartered organizations using the traditional Scouting program. As those units know, chartered organizations provide much more than a place to meet and store gear. Scout Sunday is our chance to say thanks.

But how? For tips, I asked our Facebook friends. Here’s what they said:

Tips for making Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath special
  • Greet church members and visitors: “Our church’s Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers will assist with greeting at the church doors, and will process in ahead of the choir at the 11:00 service. Our Charter Organization Representative has five minutes at the beginning of the service to recognize our units and to recognize everyone who has been impacted by Scouting in their own lives.” — Jim H.
  • Assist during the service: “At the 10 a.m. family mass at the church where our pack and troop meet, we usually have three or four Scouts being altar servers, while others volunteer to be ushers and gift bearers. Then we serve pastries after mass downstairs.” — Pat L.
  • Bring Scouting elements to the service: “As part of it, have the pastor ask the Scoutmaster to come forward and lead all current and former Scouts and leaders in the congregation in the Scout Oath. It’s amazing when folks see about 75 percent of the congregation stand up to do it!” — Gary W.
  • Serve food: “As it turns out, we have a troop pancake breakfast at my church this Sunday morning, so I will probably show up to lead the music at the 11:30 mass attired in my Class A uniform, along with a few other Scouts in the congregation. I think it’s good when Scouts and Scouters mingle in the broader community.” — Serafin G.
  • Present religious awards: “If any Scouts have earned a religious award, we present it to them.” — Pat L. 
  • Present non-religious awards: “[We’re having] a court of honor for our newest Eagle Scout!” — Elizabeth H.
  • Do some light recruiting/advertising for your unit: “Also, it is a good time to promote your troop, pack, crew or team. We bring a poster with pictures to show some recent activities.” — Pat L.

See more responses here, and share your ideas in the comments section below.

Another Scout Sunday/Scout Sabbath resources

Read Mark Ray’s piece on Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath in Scouting magazine for even more great ideas.

14 thoughts on “Show of faith: Ideas for how to honor Scout Sunday and Scout Sabbath

  1. I would also urge units use their religion’s committee on Scouting for more resources. Sometimes, this committee designates which awards will be presented at a central location.

  2. If you have any boys that are member’s of the sponsoring organization (church) that are also members of the troop, make sure they are pointed out and have the clergy promote the scouting unit as well. This is an opportunity of the church to bring in church membership. Not that it is required for scouting, but it does open the door for the unit and the sponsoring organization to work together for the sake of the scout and their family. Also definitely have the scouting unit do service projects for the sponsoring organization.

  3. We attend a church that does not sponsor a Troop, and the church that is our Troop’s charter organization is a different denomination than ours. We are active in our church and don’t want to miss a Sunday to attend our charter organization’s service. My son wants to wear his uniform to our church on Sunday. Will that go against any BSA rules?

    • ScoutMom:

      I am going to a church with the young lady I am dating, and her son and I will be wearing our uniforms, even though that church does not sponsor a Scout unit. It’s your personal Duty to God that is just as important to celebrate on Scout Sunday, just as much as the role of a Chartered Organization in Scouting. I would say to wear his uniform proudly.

    • ScoutMom,

      We used to run “Uniform Sunday” one Sunday a month in Royal Rangers. The boys would help greet, usher, collect the offering, help running the sound system, help run the projection system, help on the worship team, and other types of service……IN UNIFORM of course. It was the same as Scout Sunday but performed 12 times a year. They would also complete worksheets concerning the various ministries of the church which would work towards the God and Country Awards as well as their Church Merit Badge. Boys that did not attend my church? I did not want to keep them from their own church, so I talked with the pastor and showed them what we were doing. So they started having “Uniform Sunday” in their church as well. So I say go for it. I could send you the “Uniform Sunday” sheets if you like for you to look at. They would have to modified for your church.

  4. Hi Bryan,
    I just wanted to say that it’s not only Jewish scouts that will be celebrating scout Sabbath. Our family will be celebrating Scout Sabbath because we are Seventh-day Adventist and our Sabbath day is also on Saturday. I know there are many other Adventist scouts out there who sometimes feel forgotten. We were very excited last year when our awards chair was able to find a Christian Scout Sabbath badge for my son which was amazing!! Thanks so much!

    Delissa McMillen

      • Your Welcome!
        Normally our son helps out with children’s story for Scout Sabbath this year he will be reading opening scripture. Scout Sabbath provides the opportunity for my son to show our church what Boy Scouts is all about. It helps to blend two important parts of his world! It is always great to see him show off his uniform and tell the other kids about Scouting since he is the only Boy Scout our Church and School. Soon our youngest will be in Cub Scouts and he is already planning his first Scout Sabbath activity.

  5. Our Troop, Crew & Pack have been conducting our annual Scout Sunday Service for more than 20 years. The Scouts do all of the readings, sometimes even the Sermon/Message (if not a Scout it is done by the Scoutmaster), Greeting, Ushering & playing instruments or singing in the Choir. We place the flowers in the church as well.
    When earned, we present the Scout Religious Awards and Adult Religious Awards. When we serve Communion, all of the Elders serving are current or former Scouters and many of them will wear their uniforms. We encourage all Scouts and Scouters, whether they are in our units or not, to wear their uniforms as well. During the service we recognize all Scouts & Scouters, former Scouts & Scouters, anyone who has ever helped or supported a Scout, any Girl Scouts or Leaders. Usually by the time we finish asking them to stand more than 3/4 of the congregation is standing!!!

    When we first started, we asked if we could pass out the bulletins. The next year we asked if we could collect the offering as well, the next year we asked if we could do the Children’s Sermon, the following year we asked if we could do a Scripture Reading or two. When we went the next year the Minister asked if we would like to do the entire service and that was 21 years ago. This service is typically has the largest attendance of of any of our services.

    Currently our Minister is an Eagle Scout who got his Eagle the same time as I did. Our former minister was a strong Scouting supporter.

    We do a lot of projects and activities with our church and they really support our units in everything we do. We have been chartered by our Church for going on 57 years!!!

    Yours In Scouting,
    Bill Folts, Jr.
    SM, Troop 549,
    CC, Crew 549,
    St. Paul Presbyterian Church
    Houston, Texas

  6. The Jewish Troop here takes Shabbat to a broader audience. They are inviting all local Packs and Troops to join them for the service. The service is meant for youth and is geared towards helping all youth to understand the Jewish religion. Aside from getting a cool patch, there is a lot to learn.

    • Connie,
      That sounds cool to me. Do the words “White Stone” mean anything to the people of the Jewish Faith?

  7. I’m providing flowers for our church. What colors should I use? I’m having a hard time figuring out “scout colors”. I’m providing 2 arrangements and thought I’d do one for girl scouting and one for boy scouting. Can anyone help with suggestions? Thank you in advance…

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