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FEBRUARY 7 DESIGNATED ORTHODOX SCOUT SUNDAY
NEW YORK, NY [OCA] -- The hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] -- among them His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America -- have designated Sunday, February 7, 2010, as Scout Sunday.

For decades, Orthodox Christian scouts have pursued a variety of faith-based awards through the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS].  Over the years, thousands of OCA scouts have received the Alpha-Omega, Chi-Rho, and other awards for undertaking additional studies and ministries reflecting their Orthodox Christian faith and heritage.

EOCS celebrates its 55th anniversary this year.  In anticipation of this event, Metropolitan Jonah issued a letter endorsing EOCS's work, which is posted on the OCA Youth site here.

The text of the SCOBA hierarchs' Scout Sunday message reads as follows.

"In 1955, the hierarchs leading the various Orthodox Christian Churches in our land came together to recognize and endorse the work of the Boy Scouts of America. This encounter prefigured the promising possibilities for witnessing our unity in Jesus Christ in this land and culture when we live and work in unity. Then and now, we believe that the Scout affirmation and Law are significant aids to our parishes and families in raising young men and women who 'do their duty to God.' The methods of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts USA, and the Camp Fire Boys and Girls programs are tremendous tools and we continue to fully endorse the work of these valued institutions.

"We encourage each of our parishes to actively support the celebration of 'Scout Sunday' onSunday, February 7, 2010. We recognize our Orthodox Scouts every February, but this year's celebration is a particular joy to us as the Boy Scouts of America celebrates 100 years of vital service to the youth of our nation. We are grateful for the efforts of the first SCOBA endorsed agency, the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS], that has prepared materials for our parishes to assist in their celebration, available at www.eocs.org. We also call on the reverend pastors and faithful of our parishes to support and recognize their youth engaged in neighborhood units. Integrating a young person's Scouting experience in the fullness of Church life and the Church's youth ministry programs is a powerful witness to our conviction that 'Christ is all and in all' [Colossians 3:11].

"We prayerfully look forward to commemorating Scout Sunday with you on February 7. We ask you to work with the EOCS (www.eocs.org) or with your Church's Scouting representative to make this day a success for our youth ministry."

In addition to Metropolitan Jonah, the message was signed by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, SCOBA chairman, and the other hierarch members of SCOBA.

Further information on the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting may be found at www.eocs.org.

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