Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, a welcoming and affirming More Light Church in Maryland, has formally challenged the Boy Scouts of America’s recent reaffirmation of their anti-gay policy and created a model for other congregations to follow. Pastor Mark Greiner recently shared a statement with the congregation reiterating support for their Boy Scout troop and their inclusive policy. Scout Troop 33 also adopted a rainbow theme for their annual pancake supper, a tradition that reaches back to the 1920s.
Introducing a session endorsed letter to the Boys Scouts of America and the National Capital Area Council, Pastor Mark Greiner writes, “Troop 33 and Pack 33, with strong support from the church, will continue their policy of selecting adult leaders based on commitment, ability, and adherence to Scout principles. Sexual orientation will not be a consideration.”
The Takoma Park Presbyterian Church is the charter organization for Boy Scout Troop 33 and Cub Scout Pack 33. The parents, families, and youth of the church, the Boy Scout troop, and the Cub Scout pack have discussed the issue of gay scout leaders.
As the charter organization, the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church is concerned about the recent reaffirmation of the national Boy Scout policy of excluding “open or avowed homosexuals” from membership, a policy which is inconsistent with the Scout principle of inclusiveness.
Troop 33 and Pack 33, with strong support from the church, will continue to be inclusive in their practices as they seek to serve all families to fulfill their mission of positive youth development and enhancement of the quality of life in our community, in partnership with a diverse pool of adult volunteers. This has long been the policy of the troop and pack and is in keeping with the values of the Takoma Park community. The troop and pack will continue the commitment they have had during their 92-year history to provide a program for local youth to enhance growth and development.
This statement, originally adopted and presented to the National Capital Area Council in our letter of November 9th, 2000, has been re-affirmed by the Session (governing board) of the church. We are sending it to you so that both the Boys Scouts of America and the National Capital Area Council will be informed. We are showing it to interested groups in the community and in other area churches.
If you wish any further information, please contact me.
Pastor Mark Greiner
Takoma Park Presbyterian Church
The Annual Pancake Supper
Takoma Park’s rainbow themed pancake supper was featured at Gazette.net. “We really wanted to come out very strongly about what side this troop is on,” said Carol Clayton, the supper’s cooking director and food buyer as well as the mom of a Troop 33 Boy Scout, who called the national organization “wrong-headed.”
Takoma Park Presbyterian Church that ran the full color spectrum from red to violet.
“The tables made a rainbow flag,” said Clayton of Takoma Park,.
Karn, a floral designer for Park Florist in Takoma Park, created roughly 30 floral arrangements for the event, coordinating each one with a tablecloth’s color.
“It’s my favorite, favorite thing to decorate,” said Karn of the event, which she described as “family oriented” with “plenty of room for the kids to work off that maple-syrup energy.”
Jennifer Shields of Takoma Park, the event’s organizer, said the supper — which serves as the troop’s main fundraising event — brought in more than 500 people and raised more than 5,000 dollars.
The money raised will go towards equipment such as tents and sleeping bags, maintenance of a West Virginia property, financial support for families of the Scouts, and camp scholarships for the boys.
Shields described the 25 to 30 Boys Scouts who participated in the supper, especially those who waited on tables, as “earnest” and “excited.”