According to Christian Post, churches across the nation are preparing for Scout Sunday celebrations as they await the Boy Scouts of America's decision on whether or not it will allow openly gay members and leaders.
"Scout Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of the Scouting program and for the Scouting family to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting," Deron Smith, BSA's Director of Public Relations, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement on Friday. "We encourage our chartered organizations and members to commemorate this date and Scouting's commitment to 'Duty to God.'"
The BSA's National Executive Board is scheduled to meet Monday, Feb. 4, through Wednesday, Feb. 6, and will likely vote on whether or not to allow gay members and leaders into the organization at that time. BSA officials told CP earlier this week that the ban on gay members will likely be overturned.
Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told Baptist Press that many SBC churches will likely cease their sponsorship of local Boy Scout troops if the policy is changed. If that is the case, then this weekend could possibly be the last Scout Sunday for some churches
"A lot of them will just pull out," Luter told BP. "This is just something we don't believe in. It's unfortunate the Boy Scouts are making this decision."
On Scout Sunday many churches honor Boy Scouts during regular church services, while others create special events just for the occasion. Not all churches who will celebrate scouting this year will do so this weekend – The United Methodist Church's celebration is the second Sunday in February – but many will.
The BSA's upcoming decision will not impact how Christ Church celebrates the annual event, Lees says, nor is a church service an appropriate forum to discuss the issue.
In an article for the Baptist Press, Frank Page, president and CEO of the SBC executive committee, wrote that he was "gravely distressed" after BSA officials told him about a potential policy change.
He believes, however, that God, in His providence, has given churches the time to pray about the controversial issue this Sunday.
I strongly urge every Southern Baptist member and congregation to direct our prayers toward the heavenly Father that the board members will reject this recommendation. Focused prayer on Sunday; board meeting on Monday. What a divine moment!"