Skip to comments.Amherst church led by gay pastor charters Boy Scout unit
Posted on 03/04/2013 4:37:54 PM PST by vrwc54
AMHERST An Amherst church that promotes tolerance and is led by a gay pastor has become the new chartering organization for a local Boy Scout troop whose national organization has retained a policy excluding homosexuals.
But for the Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Rev. Steven Wilco and Troop 504, which will be partners, the long-term objectives are the same: giving boys a place to grow and learn leadership skills, teaching them an appreciation for the outdoors and advocating for a change in the national Boy Scout policy.
Wilco, pastor of the church at 867 North Pleasant St., said there is always a tension between those wanting to push for change, as leaders of Troop 504 have done, and larger institutions that arent ready to do that.
We understand institutions are complex. One of the best things we can do to is support it in taking a stand, Wilco said.
Troop 504, which lost its longtime space at the former North Congregational Church of Amherst in December, is expected to hold its first meeting at Immanuel Lutheran Monday night.
Wilco said he is always for inclusion, and he acknowledged there was initial hesitation from church members about becoming the chartering entity for an organization that still is required to comply with the national Boy Scouts of America policy related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.
We want to be clear that this is a welcoming place. We ask that of everyone who uses our space, Wilco said.
Lyle Denit, assistant scoutmaster, said Troop 504 endorses the churchs stance.
We wanted an organization that would support us in urging change, Denit said. We basically dont support the policy, we make that clear to families who are interested in joining, and weve made that clear to our previous chartering organization.
The 25 members, who range in age from 12 to 17, come from Amherst, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham and Montague,
Taking a stand
In August, Denit and Nancy Bandman-Boyle, who serves as the troops committee chairwoman, signed a letter sent to the Gazette stating that they have been trying to distance themselves from the national policy for more than a decade:
We are sorry for the pain this policy causes in our community, and we will continue to try to model a Scouting of inclusion, and invite all boys and their families to join us.
Suzanne Seymour, executive director of the LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts, said she applauds both the church and the troop for their respective positions and thinks that the church is doing the right thing in chartering a troop, even if it has to continue complying with national policy.
I think that is an effective way to go. It may be the only way to go, Seymour said.
She cites her own experience as a young lesbian growing up in the Catholic church and how she depended on Dignity Boston to give her a sense of security. She said Troop 504, like Dignity Boston, is trying to change attitudes from within.
Here are people who are willing to go out on a limb and dont agree with a policy on the national level, Seymour said.
Aside from the policy regarding membership in the troop, both the church and the troop expect to benefit from their new relationship.
It really is a partnership, in a sense a merging, of our organizations, Wilco said.
The church has about 215 members, with 80 to 100 people attending the weekly services, he said.
After the congregational council, elected by church members, approved the Boy Scouts presence, the council had to determine whether sufficient space was available, as multiple groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the Hampshire Birders, the Hampshire Young Peoples Chorus and University of Massachusetts musicians use the building.
For our congregation, it gives us a chance to interact with this long-standing organization and stretches us to see God in new ways and new places, Wilco said.
Denit said the troop knew for a while that it might lose the area that had been called Troop Hall at North Congregational Church. Due to a shrinking congregation, the church was seeking to sell its buildings. Troop 504 had used the church almost continuously since its founding in 1917. But when the Korean Zion Church bought the church and parish hall last year, it informed the troop it wanted to use the space itself.
We had known this would come up for a few years, so it had been on our radar for a while, Denit said.
The discussion with Immanuel Lutheran began in earnest in the fall.
Its pretty close to our old home. Geographically were trying to say as close to our old North Amherst site, Denit said.
Representatives of both organizations say they are excited about the opportunities the venture provides. The church owns nearby woods that Wilco said the boys may be able to use.
The church will provide a small closet for storage, while the troop may have a small shed built on the site. Denit said the troop could invest some proceeds from the annual Christmas tree sale to build it and offer the church some space inside.
Denit said he believes that members of the church can benefit from the troops presence.
Ideally, a Scout troop is a part of service to the youth and to the community, Denit said.
Since January, the troop has been meeting in various places, including the Hadley public safety complex meeting room, the Central Rock Climbing Gym in Hadley and at campouts.
Wilco said allowing the troop to remain in North Amherst was important for the church.
We feel like its a bit of a statement for us its about our vision to become an integral part of the community, Wilco said.
Were happy to work with them, Denit said. This seems like a lot of energy that is useful for both of us.
We’ll have a gay old time!
Aggressive, sassy butt prancers. Liberal Mommies and Daddies, line your boys up for tent lessons.
We have men who when boys were molested by betraying, lying perv leaders in the Scouts.
‘Haven’t heard the last of this bunch.
A “welcoming place” unless you oppose the paedophiles.
Wilco, Denit and Boyle, there’s a special space reserved just for you. Enjoy.
Scout Oath (or Promise)
On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
Christian Straights are not welcome in Gay circles, and this group may have a gay old time but they will not be Boy Scouts.
OK - who wants to let their young sons alone in the woods with gay men???
The problem is they will DEMAND the use of national Boy Scout campgrounds and facilities. Bet on it.
Anyone unfamiliar with Amherst should keep in mind that you’ll find as many “women in comfortable shoes” and as many cases of rectal syphilis there as you’ll find on Fire Island or in San Francisco.And you’ll also find as many atheists masquerading as Christians and Jews as you’ll find in those areas.
Sadly, I’ll bet there are Liberal parents out there who are so far gone that they’ll turn a blind eye their kids being molested “for the cause” (as it were).
Doubt me? Not that much different from parents who let their kids stay unsupervised at Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch.
Indeed, many even inside BSA have forgotten this.
The predator faggots will do anything to sow new hunting grounds for themselves. The thing is, in a liberal Democrat pisspot like Massachusetts, they’ll probably find plenty of parents willing to offer up fresh meat for them.
What these people do not realize is this. The homosexual, having activity within the general structure of society may be restricted by being observed generally. He may step lightly because there is the structure around him. Persons are at hand if he starts to drift into devious behavior. Those persons are available if some lad wants to make a complaint.
Now consider this, in any secluded environment with young lads, the homosexual is thus removed from immediate consequences. Even if he set himself to toe the line and act professionally, he may be tempted.
It was Jesus Christ himself, that said if anyone should harm any of these little ones, it is better that he be cast into the sea, with a millstone about his neck.
These fools know not what they do. Just damn!
thanks for the ping as for even the first line, well, well it promotes tolerance, what utter crap
correct the cess pit state of MA which is one of the biggest cess pits will have so called parents which will let their kids go to this and what utter nonsense as to a church which is pro anal feces sex.
What Holy Bible are they reading from and teaching? Then how long will it be for a boy to be molested and the mother to be surprised and have her say on TV that she can;t beleive this as he;s a nice astor and done a lot of nice things for the community?
That is how dumb so many mothers are up in MA and yes I lived there and hated it and got my wife th ehell out of the state and got her to move south so it;s not like I don;t know the state or this town where infact there are many thousands of students
They don’t promote tolerance, they promote sin.
Pedophile Scouts going camping....