Pastors and P.R.A.Y.

I have heard that some pastors within The United Methodist Church are reluctant to be involved with PRAY Programs. There is a misunderstanding that PRAY is a part of the Boy Scouts of America. This misunderstanding has made them wary of possible liability from participating in the religious education of youth. My hope is to clarify so you are free to live into the mission of the church and the call of Christ.

Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.) is a non-profit organization aimed at fostering the Christian growth of children, youth, and families through churches.

P.R.A.Y. is the administrative agency for religious recognition for Protestant youth who are registered members of the American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts of America, and Girl Scouts of the USA.  There are other organizations that use the program but do not have a formal relationship.   

P.R.A.Y. is also a proud Affiliate Partner of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and the Center for Scouting Ministries (https://www.praypub.org/Data/Sites/1/media/denomination-resources/united-methodist/prayawards_gcumm.pdf). 

The Religious Emblems programs are developed by national religious organizations to encourage their members to grow stronger in their faith. The scouting agencies have approved of these programs and allow the awards to be worn on the official uniforms, but the emblems are created and administered by various religious groups.

P.R.A.Y. develops the religious emblems curriculum and recognition program for Protestant and Independent Christian churches. The General Commission on United Methodist Men has supported religious education through P.R.A.Y. for years. P.R.A.Y. is listed within the United Methodist Book of Discipline. I have seen it used as a portion of confirmation curriculum. I have taught multiple classes and received great joy from sharing my faith.

P.R.A.Y. does not have registered volunteers.  Therefore our leadership requirements for classes or sessions should meet the requirements of the youth member’s agency affiliation and congregation.  In all of our materials and training, we ensure that mention is given regarding online and in-person requirements for youth protection. 

The costs for P.R.A.Y. materials are minimal.  Booklets depending on the program range from $5- $8 and are required for the student and the teacher/counselor.  Depending on the recognition choice selected, there are different levels of cost ($1 for certificate, $5 for the patch, $7.50 for the lapel pin, and $12.50 for the medallion).

We have many churches that with the support of their congregation and Scout leaders deliver classes annually.  For some churches, the pastor or their designee serves as the Counselor, while recognizing that faith formation starts in the home. We serve with parents that are serving as well. 

https://www.praypub.org/

A short video explaining P.R.A.Y. from a pastor-to-pastor perspective is located here: https://methodistscouter.org/p-r-a-y-builds-faith-within-the-umc/

Thank you for serving the church, the community, and most of all Christ!

Published by Steven Scheid

Dir. Center for Scouting Ministries

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