Scouting for Episcopal Youth

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  • According to the 2010 Yearbook of American and Canadian churches, there are 2.1 million U.S. members in over 7,000 churches or parishes.
    • Membership is concentrated along the East Coast with New York, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia having the highest number of members.
    • The state of New York has the highest membership for a single state with 200,000 members.
  • In keeping with Anglican tradition and theology, the Episcopal Church considers itself Protestant, yet Catholic.
  • The Episcopal church is responsible for:
    • Over 1,200 schools, early childhood education programs, and school exploration, establishment, and expansion efforts
    • 11 colleges and universities
    • 11 seminaries
    • Three schools of theology
  • In 2010, there were:
    • 22,098 Cub Scouts in 490 packs
    • 17,345 Boy Scouts in 591 troops
    • 1,918 Venturers in 162 crews

How the Episcopal Church is Organized

  • The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (as it was called, now referred to simply as The Episcopal Church) was formally organized in 1789 in Philadelphia upon adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America and the formal separation of the church from the Church of England.
    • Though fully separate of the Church of England, the Episcopal Church remained in “Communion” with the Church of England and its many churches that were established as the British Empire spread.
    • Now referred to as the Anglican Communion, this loose confederation of churches throughout the world is considered second in size to the Roman Catholic Church (from which the Church of England originated from during the reign of King Henry VIII).
    • The Anglican Communion is led by, but not controlled by, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is appointed by the English monarch and approved by the British Parliament.
  • The governance of the Episcopal Church is Episcopal polity, similar to other Anglican churches.
  • Each parish elects a vestry or bishop’s committee. Subject to the diocesan bishop, the vestry of each parish elects a priest, called a rector, who has spiritual jurisdiction in the parish and selects assistant clergy, both deacons and priests.
    • A self-sustaining congregation is called a parish and is governed by a Vestry made up of lay members from the congregation.
  • A non-self-sustaining church is referred to as a mission and the priest is appointed by the Diocesan Bishop. The bishop approves the formation of a “Bishop’s Committee” from the congregation. The bishop is “officially” the rector of the mission.
  • Parishes are combined into one of 110 dioceses throughout the United States, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.
  • Dioceses are organized into provinces. Each province has a synod and a mission budget, but does not have authority over the member dioceses.
  • At the national level, the church is governed by the triennial General Convention, consisting of:
    • The House of Deputies, made up of four laity and four clergy from each diocese, usually elected at the diocesan convention.
    • The House of Bishops, made up of all living bishops:
      • Diocesan, who is the head Bishop of the Diocese
      • Bishop Coadjutor, who is elected to succeed the Diocesan Bishop upon retirement
      • Suffragan Bishop, who is elected to assist the Diocesan Bishop as required (For example, Bishop for the Ordinal or Clergy, or in larger diocese, a particular region)
      • Assistant Bishop, usually a retired bishop who is asked by the Diocesan Bishop to perform certain function with a diocese such as mission work.
    • The General Convention elects a “Presiding” Bishop at every third triennial meeting (every nine years). This bishop represents the entire church on a national level as well as to the entire Anglican Communion.

Religious Principles and Key Terms

  • Worship: In the broad sense, worship is based on the Book of Common Prayer. The primary service of the church is the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion, the celebration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and sharing of the Sacrament.
  • Book of Common Prayer (BCP): The full name is Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church Together with the Psalter or Palms of David According to the Use of the Episcopal Church. This book contains most of the worship services, or liturgies, used in the Episcopal Church. It is both a reflection and a source of theology for Episcopalians.
  • Liturgy: The church’s public worship of God.
  • Catechism: An outline of instruction in the Christian faith presented in a question and answer format. It is intended to serve as a point of departure for discussion by the catechist with those who seek to understand the beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church.
  • Eucharist: The sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, and the principal act of Christian worship. It may also be called the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, Divine Liturgy, Mass, or the Great Offertory. In the Book of Common Prayer, the entire service is entitled the Holy Eucharist.
  • General Convention: Governing body of the Episcopal Church that meets every three years.
  • Parish: Self supporting congregation
  • Diocese: Territorial jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop. It may also refer to the congregations and church members of the diocese. Each diocese usually meets annually in a diocesan convention.
  • Bishop: One of the three orders of ordained ministers in the church, bishops are charged with the apostolic work of leading, supervising, and uniting the church. Bishops represent Christ and his church, and they are called to provide Christian vision and leadership for their dioceses. Bishops are elected at the diocesan conventions, subject to confirmation from the House of Bishops.
  • Presiding Bishop: Chief Officer of the Episcopal Church, elected from and by the House of Bishops and confirmed by the House of Deputies at the General Convention. Each presiding bishop serves a term of nine years.

Role of Scouting in the Episcopal Church

  • The National Episcopal Scouters Association (NESA) was formed in 2004 to promote Scouting in the Episcopal churches and support Episcopal Scouts and Scouters.
  • NESA has the following objectives:
    • Support local Episcopal churches in their outreach and ministry to youth and families
    • Encourage Episcopal congregations to become chartered organizations of the Boy Scouts of America by using one or more Scouting programs as an integral part of the local church’s ministry
    • Recognize, strengthen, and help sustain existing Scouting units in the Episcopal churches
    • Encourage Episcopal churches to include the entire Scouting program
    • Encourage the spiritual growth of youths through involvement in the God and Country religious emblems program
    • Support the chaplaincy ministry in individual Scouting units as well as at the district and council levels, particularly at summer camp
    • Help Boy Scouts of America local councils promote the “Duty to God” concept and establish and support Scouting units in Episcopal churches
    • Serve as an advisory group to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America in matters relative to Scouting in the Episcopal Church
    • Facilitate use of the Saint George award as recognition for adults involved with ministry to youth through Scouting under Episcopal churches
    • Provide training opportunities for Episcopal Scouters and other Episcopal leaders involved in Scouting activities
    • Where appropriate, encourage the organization of Episcopal committees on Scouting

Scouting Youth and Adult Recognitions

In 2010, according to P.R.A.Y., the God and Country religious emblems were earned by:

  • 267 Cub Scouts
  • 274 Webelos
  • 99 Boy Scouts
  • 43 Venturers
  • 33 adults

Youth Emblems

God and Me


  • Encourages children to become best friends with Jesus and tell their story of “God and Me” together


  • Youth in first through third grade


  • Designed to be completed in four to five sessions
  • Youth completes sessions on God Created Me, Jesus Is God’s Gift to Me, I Can Talk With God, Because God Cares for Me, I Can Care for Others

God and Family


  • Help youth understand the importance of family and God’s role in a healthy


  • Youth fourth and fifth grade


  • Designed to be completed in six to seven sessions
  • Sessions include:
    • We are God’s Family
    • Family Heritage, Spiritual Heritage
    • Our Talents and Gifts Strengthen Our Families
    • In God’s Family We’re Loved No Matter What! Because We’re Loved, We Follow Rules
    • Being in God’s Family Helps Us When Things Are Tough
    • In God’s Family, We Share as a Response to God’s Love

God and Church (Episcopal)


  • Gives youth an opportunity to understand the church’s structure and objectives, and to participate in service projects that will give them a better understanding of the mission of the church


  • Youth in sixth through eighth grade


  • Designed to take three to five months to complete
  • Sessions include Meeting Christ, Worshipping God, and Witnessing and Ministering for Christ
  • Must complete a video or photo album to share what they learned

God and Life


  • Teaches youth to study the lives of men and women in the Bible, discovering what their lives teach them about God, and challenging them to integrate the faith of those in the Bible into their daily lives


  • Youth in ninth through twelfth grades who do not necessarily have to belong to a Boy Scout troop


  • Completion of five sections covering:
    • How God calls all kinds of people
    • God doesn’t expect us to do it on our own
    • Each of us must make a personal response to the call of God
    • God gives strength to face adversities
    • God can accomplish great things through those who are willing to do God’s will

Adult Emblem

God and Country Mentor Program


  • Provides an adult with additional opportunities to model his or her Christian faith and to help a young child talk about his or her belief in God


  • Parent or guardian of a youth in the God and Country program series


  • Completion of the God and Country curriculum working alongside youth for whom parent or guardian is responsible Saint George award

Saint George award


  • Acknowledge distinguished service by adults in the spiritual, physical, mental, and moral development of youth through service to the church and through the Boy Scouts of America


  • An adult (including laypersons, ordained persons, professional church workers, men, and women) active in the Episcopal Church and the Boy Scouts of America


Candidates nominated for the Saint George award should:

  • Encourage youth to join Boy Scouts of America
  • Promote the organization of agency units in Episcopal churches and recruit volunteers
  • Exhibit past and present leadership and be fully trained in their area of responsibility
  • Assist and encourage youth to serve their Lord through the God and Country program for
    Episcopal youth, and serve as a counselor
  • Encourage youth to participate in the religious emblems program and to do service projects
    for the chartering/sponsoring partner or community
  • Promote religious observances at Boy Scouts of America functions at all levels
  • Give adequate help to their homes as well as the homes of others
  • Give evidence that they lead their families into a strong relationship with God
  • Give outstanding service to the local parish
  • Be highly regarded by others in the church for their Christian example

Organizational Information

  • For more information and materials on the religious programs and awards, contact P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities With Youth)
    • Write to P.R.A.Y., 11123 S Town Square, Suite B, St. Louis, MO 63123-7816; toll-free phone: 1-800-933-7729; phone: 314-845-3318; fax: 314-845-0058
    • Web site:
  • For more information concerning the National Episcopal Scouters Association, contact:



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