RELIGIOUS EMBLEMS PROGRAM
A Scout is reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.
A Scout is Reverent
Duty to God is a cornerstone of the Scouting program. The Scout Oath begins with duty to God; the Scout Law ends with reverence. The BSA recognizes that religious instruction comes from the family and faith community.
As the BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle states, “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.”
A variety of religious emblems programs are used by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to encourage youth to learn about their faith and to recognize adults who provide significant service to youth in a religious environment. These religious programs are created, administered and awarded by the various religious groups, not the BSA, but each program must be recognized by the BSA. Any interested youth should contact Tim Roark for more information on the Religious Emblems program.
What are the religious emblems programs?
- The religious emblems programs are programs created by the various religious groups to encourage youth to grow stronger in their faith.
- The religious groups—not the Boy Scouts of America—have created the religious emblems programs themselves.
- The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the recognition to be worn on the official uniform, but each religious organization develops and administers its own program.
THE GOD & CHURCH PROGRAM (GRADES 6-8)
The God and Church curriculum is designed to lead youth on a three part faith journey.
- To strengthen young people’s relationship with Christ
- To challenge young people to learn about and participate in the worship and ministry of the church
- To have young people make a plan for daily Bible reading and memorize a creed or statement of belief or passage of scripture
- To provide the opportunity for young people to experience the joy of serving others
The three parts of the journey are: meeting Jesus, worshiping God, and witnessing and ministering for Christ. Participants will create either a video or a photo album to share what they have learned on their faith journeys. Young people will have the opportunity to work with their pastor or other Christian adult as they study the church’s structures and objectives and participate in service projects that will give them a better understanding of the mission of the church.
The God and Church curriculum was developed without theological bias; yet it was designed to permit the introduction of particular theological and denominational viewpoints on the material being studied. It is the responsibility of the counselor to provide this specific instruction. Therefore all students use the standard God and Church curriculum regardless of church membership.
It is at the God and Church level (when students study their specific denomination), that the following denominational logos are available on 3/4″ Pins to be pinned into the ribbon of the God and Church medallion: African Methodist Episcopal, Anglican (ACNA), Baptist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal, Lutheran, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Church in America, and United Methodist. Information on ordering these recognition items is contained in the Student Workbook.
THE GOD & LIFE PROGRAM (GRADES 9-12)
The God and Life curriculum is the final program in the P.R.A.Y. series.
To provide opportunities for young people to:
- Strengthen their relationship with Christ
- Be open to God’s calling in their lives
Make a plan for daily Bible reading
- Experience the joy of serving others
Write a statement of commitment
After being introduced to Jesus as their best friend (God and Me), learning how the family is to grow strong in God’s love (God and Family), and studying the church as the body of Christ (God and Church), students in the God and Life program will seek to understand their call to a life of discipleship. The God and Life curriculum will focus on the life of the Apostle Paul as recorded in Acts 9:1-31. This is a brief account that describes how Paul encountered Christ and was changed forever. Five chronological “events” out of this story will be highlighted and used as the focus for the five different sections in this program. Each section will illustrate a key element in learning how to live one’s life for Christ.
THE FOUR STAR AWARD
P.R.A.Y. recognizes four-star recipients as someone who has earned all four levels of the P.R.A.Y. series. Four-star recipients will receive a certificate and letter of congratulations from P.R.A.Y. A special pin is available at additional cost.
God and Life candidates can request the Four Star pin on their application form. P.R.A.Y. will verify that candidates have earned all four levels of the P.R.A.Y. program at the appropriate grade levels and then send a letter and certificate of special recognition. Young people do not go back to earn younger awards.