2017 National Jamboree as Seen by The Rev. Carolyn Huff

The National Boy Scout Jamboree in July brought together 40,000 scouts, and over 7,000 staff for 10 amazing days of the best of what scouting has to offer. I had the privilege of working with fellow Episcopal Scouters in the Duty to God area.

Under the roof of one big tent were representatives from various religions and Christian denominations. Scouts will do anything for a patch, so in the Episcopal booth we talked to our visitors about how the 12 points of the scout law align with the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. That was how they “earned” their patch from our booth.

Engaging young people in conversations about their faith and their scouting “duty to God” was rewarding for me, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be a Christian witness to such a large and diverse audience.

I talked to clean-cut Mormon scouts making Roman Catholic rosaries and wearing Sikh turbans, I saw unchurched scouts learning to put the books of the Bible in order in the Baptist booth, and sporting brightly colored Paracord crosses from the Eastern Orthodox Christian booth. Fr. Ed, who worked with me in our Episcopal booth, visited our Jewish friends and came back wearing a yarmulke with his name written in Hebrew on it. My tent-mate was a United Church of Christ woman from Chicago, and our neighbor was a Methodist woman from Alaska.

I gave Episcopal patches to Coptic Orthodox scouts from Egypt, and Buddhist scouts from Japan. In a country that seems to be torn apart by focusing on what separates us from our neighbor, the 2017 Jamboree was for me a beautiful sign of hope.

It was an example of how we can indeed come together, we can appreciate, and even love those whose beliefs differ from our own.

Here is a prayer from our Book of Common Prayer that I find meaningful: O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Book of Common Prayer, Page 100