aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Still telling the story for the first time

Got a call from a clergy colleague this morning with a Scouting question. The Scoutmaster of their church's troop had been charged with battery against his son -- a domestic abuse case. He had asked the leader to take a leave of absence until resolution of the charges. He wanted to know what else he should do, and why the local Scout Council hadn't done anything about it.

I replied that it was his church's troop, and he didn't need the Council's say-so to suspend a leader. I also told him the Council probably didn't know about the issue yet. (Somebody's got to tell them, remember. They aren't omniscient, and they don't deal in rumors.) We went on to talk about the legal position of a BSA unit in a local church. He was surprised to find out that their troop was legally as much theirs as their youth fellowship or Sunday school.

Keep in mind that my colleague is right about my age. We were ordained about the same time. And he's been a District Superintendent, so he's dealt with all kinds of legal issues and personnel issues and what-all as the supervisor for scores of churches and pastors. He's conscientious and smart. And I'm sure he'll do the right thing now. But the thing that saddens me (it used to blow my mind, but I've seen it too often) is that he's just now finding out how BSA units and local churches interface.

When I say (re: Scouting ministry) that we have a massive need to retrain clergy, this is what I'm talking about. I've been doing Scouting as ministry from a clergy perspective for thirty years now, and I'm still telling the story for the first time to other clergy, even those with 20, 30, or more years of pastoral experience.

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