Grand Canyon Council, BSA

Interfaith Religious Relations Committee

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About Us

The Interfaith Committee was formed to work with Religious organizations and Scouting units at all levels, their parents, Religious leaders and youth members, to promote the Religious emblems programs for their Religion and to provide recognition of their achievements after they have earned a Religious emblem.

The Interfaith Committee members visit and assist with Scouting units, Religious leaders, Scout leader roundtable meetings, Camp-o-Rees, Pow-Wows, University of Scouting, Scout-o-Ramas, Leader basic training courses and at Summer camps. We introduce, instruct and encourage youth to earn the Religious emblems of their Faith. Our subcommittees include Relationships, Chaplaincy and Religious Emblems.

Our committee dates back to 1970 when three Scout leaders representing Catholic, Lutheran, and Jewish congregations met informally to discuss the possibility of creating a Religious emblem exhibit. Members of other Religions were brought into our team and a Religious Emblems Display was prepared. Our display case was first exhibited at the 1971 Scout-o-Rama for the Theodore Roosevelt Council at that time. Literature about the awards and lists of contact people for each Religion were also distributed. Our Religious Emblem Display (RED) team has assisted Scouting groups and training sessions ever since 1971.

While preparing for the BSA National Annual Meeting held at Phoenix in 1978, our unofficial Interfaith Committee petitioned our Council's Executive Committee to be recognized as the Council Religious Relationships Committee. The request was approved on May 16, 1979.

At the organizational meeting on August 4, 1979, the committee adopted the following aims and purposes:

  1. To promote interest of all Religious emblems.
  2. To open doors for Scout units in new sponsor / partners (Religious institutions).
  3. To demonstrate to the Religious community that Scouting can help their youth movements.
  4. To help recruit chaplains for camps and programs as needed.

We sponsored our first Interfaith Sunday ceremony on February 7, 1983 at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Tempe. Every year since that first celebration, we have continued to invite and recognize the youth and adults who have earned their Religious emblems over the previous year. The ceremonies have been held at various Places of Worship within the metropolitan area on a Saturday (Scout Sabbath) or Scout Sunday that is closest to or on the Boy Scouts of America's anniversary date of February 8th of each year.

In 1991 the Council organized the Relationships Committee. Our committee agreed to become a subcommittee of the new Relationships Division. We adopted the name of the Interfaith Religious Recognition Committee, as it better described our activities. We published the first Duty to GOD Handbook ever produced in 1999, for use by all those in Scouting, at all levels and for all types of Scouting programs. We held out first "Duty to GOD Conference" on October 16, 1999 that included a COR/Chaplain workshop, Emblem Advisor training for several Religions, and a Chaplain Aide Training course, using the Handbook.

From our modest beginning, the Interfaith Committee has grown and has varied from 25 to 50 active members. We have a core of Catholic, Christian, Jewish and Mormon members, many of whom have been on the committee more than fifteen years. At various times our membership has included Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Jewish, Baptist, American-Methodist Episcopal, Church of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. and other Religious denominations. We have continued to hold regular meetings and attend Council events as a team, without interruption since our beginning in 1970.

The Interfaith Recognition Patch

Interfaith recognition patches are presented to Religious Emblems & Adult Religious Award recipients at the annual Interfaith Religious Recognition Ceremony held on or around Boy Scout Scout Sunday in February. Here is an explanation of the images on the patch:

Image Representation
Blue Field with Red & White Stripes Flag of the United States of America
White Crescent Moon on Blue Field Moslem Faith
White Shield, Red Cross Protestant Faith
Blue Star of David Jewish Faith
8-Sided figure and Red and White Stripes Buddhist Faith
Gold Cross Catholic Faith
Gold Fleur-de-lis Mormon Faith
Red border Boy/Girl Scout & Leader recognition
Blue border (not shown here) Cub Scout/Brownie & Leader recognition


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