A Pastoral Word
In November 2013, the Bluegrass Council of the Boy Scouts of America contacted the church about some issues with our charter document for Troop 40. These issues surrounding the Charter document would have caused our church to be the sole party responsible and liable for any accidents or incidents should they have occurred. It was also brought to the church's attention that a letter had been filed officially with the Bluegrass Council that alleged comments were made that membership would not be given to Scouts who were gay nor would they be able to advance in rank. These alleged comments go against our church policy of welcome that was decided upon by our Elders. At their April 2013 meeting, our Elders decided that Midway Christian Church (MCC) welcomes all to be a part of our community of faith regardless of race, gender, creed, ethnicity or sexual orientation and that we agree to live in the tension that comes with the statement All means All because ultimately, it is God's Table and we come as guests invited.
The Bluegrass Council realized that because of the severity of the situation, the best course of action would also be to involve the National Association of the Boy Scouts of America.
In March 2014, the National Association decided to initiate a change in leadership of Troop 40 and put into place actions that went farther than the leadership of the church expected or anticipated. On Monday, March 3rd, the Executives of the Elkhorn District of the Boy Scouts met with the parents and families of Troop 40 as well as the elders of MCC to discuss National's decision and the effects of that decision for Troop 40. This meeting did not go very well. There was lots of confusion and hurt feelings by all who attended this meeting.
In the weeks following, the leadership of MCC has tried to mend fences and find ways to reconcile with Troop 40 so that we could all move forward in a partnership that was beneficial to each group. But it soon became apparent that that would not be possible. On Monday, March 24th, once again, the Executives of the Elkhorn District met with the leadership of Troop 40 and the elders of MCC to try to figure out ways to move forward and once again come together to help the boys achieve their potential through Scouting. At this meeting, the church discovered that the group of men and boys connected with Troop 40 no longer wanted to be partners in Scouting with Midway Christian Church and have found a new charter organization.
So what does this mean for us and for Troop 40? The leadership of MCC realizes that Troop 40 has been a vital and essential part of our Midway Community and we don't want to lose that. It would leave a huge hole for our community if that happened. So we are working with the Elkhorn District to explore options.
Option 1: As a charter organization, we still hold the charter for Troop 40. We can write a letter of release, releasing this group from the charter but can still retain the Troop number as well as any or all of the Troop equipment. This would be beneficial to the church if and when we decide to rebuild Troop 40 in the future.
Option 2: The District Executives pointed out that at this time, the only Cub Scout packs are in Versailles and that Midway would benefit from having its own Cub Scout Pack. This would and could eventually lead to a foundation for rebuilding Troop 40 in the future.
Option 3: The District Executives also told the church about another Scouting Program called Venturing which is for young men and women who are 14 years of age OR 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade and under 21 years of age. Venturing's purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.
The elders are continuing to meet to discuss where God is leading us and guiding us in this particular situation. And I find it no surprise that we are having these types of conversations during this season of Lent which draws to a close on Easter Sunday this month. On Easter, we celebrate that the darkness didn't overcome the light. On Easter, we celebrate that love wins. On Easter, we celebrate that our God is still constantly working to bring forth new life in transforming ways.
As a person of faith, I am constantly reminded that we worship a Savior who shows us in so many ways but especially shows us through the gift of the empty tomb, that we are people of the resurrection. We proudly proclaim that darkness and death does not have the last word, and that where the world says it is finished and over, God surprises us through the gift of new life. I cannot help but be reminded of this as we discern how we move forward with the future of Troop 40. Sure, it will be different. Sure, it will be change. But, I know that in the midst of these conversations, God is right there saying to all of us, "I am calling you to be the stewards of my creation. Let's figure out a way to bring hope, grace and love to the people of Midway in all that we do."
And if we as Midway Christian Church can do just that, then there is no limit to the amazing life-giving and life-transforming opportunities and options that God will put before us. And I, for one, am excited to see what God has in store for us!