The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS] has designated February 5, 2011 as Scout Sunday.
The observance of Scout Sunday began years ago in an effort to build awareness among Orthodox Christian faithful of the benefits of scouting and the various programs and awards offered by the EOCS.
EOCS was established in the 1960s as the first agency endorsed by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.
Parishes are encouraged to recognize and celebrate this event, and to highlight scouting throughout the month of February — Orthodox Youth Month.
Among recommendations for celebrating Scout Sunday, EOCS suggests the following.
- Whether your parish sponsors a scout unit or its scouts participate elsewhere, invite your scouts to attend the Liturgy in full uniform during February.
- Invite the uniformed scouts to assume various duties during the Sunday Liturgy. They can oversee the candle desk, usher, take the collection, serve and clean up during and after coffee hour, read the Hours or Epistle, hold the Communion cloths, or fulfill any other duties at the direction of the pastor.
- If there are any scouts who recently have completed projects leading to scouting awards, make appropriate presentations after a Sunday Liturgy. Scouts also might prepare a display on scouting that would be of interest to other boys and girls.
In related news, at the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the eve of the opening of the 16th All-American Council in Bellevue/Seattle, WA, two Church leaders — Archpriest Eric Tosi, OCA Secretary and Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov, chair of the OCA’s Department of Late Vocations — were presented with the Prophet Elias Award. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, made the presentation of the highest award given to adult leaders who have displayed exceptional leadership in the Church and scouting over a long period of time.
Father Eric is an Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow member, former Cub Master, and currently Assistant Scout Master. He has served scouting for over 30 years as a scout and leader in the US and abroad and has established a number of troops and packs. He was also a member of the EOCS.
Archdeacon Kirill has been involved in Scouting for over 20 years. He recevd the Quartermaster Award — the highest award for Sea Scouting — and a BSA Medal of Merit for his involvement in a life-saving effort. He also received the Venturing Silver Award and Leadership Awards and served as an area and national Boatswain. He remains involved in leadership and development of Sea Scout units, and has also served on the EOCS.
“These awards are an important recognition of the dedicated volunteers who serve and uphold the scouting ideals in developing our Orthodox youth,” said Father Eric. “Both Archdeacon Kirill and I are humbled at receiving this recognition on doing something we both love and are dedicated. It is important to support and recognize our many Orthodox scouts and leaders as they develop the next generation of leaders in our country and the our Church.”