2020 marks 20 years of scouting ministry accomplishments for Arlington UMC


Standing in front of Arlington United Methodist Church's Scouting Wall are the church's five newest Eagle Scouts. (Submitted photo)

By Teresa Pinkston Rector, Scouting Ministries Coordinator, Arlington United Methodist Church

February 2020 will mark 20 years of scouting ministries at Arlington United Methodist Church (UMC) in Arlington, Tennessee, and 100 years of United Methodist scouting as a whole. 

Cub Scout Pack 452 began in 1999 at Arlington Elementary School and moved its charter to Arlington UMC in the 2000. The scouting unit began with seven boys and has grown to currently serving more than 160 boys in the Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop.

Arlington UMC will celebrate the double milestone of AUMC and UMC scouting with a special Scouting Ministries Sunday on Feb 9. Scouts will have active parts in the service with color guard, acolytes, prayers and scripture. 

We are grateful to Rev. Larry M. Chitwood, Arlington UMC’s pastor, for his enthusiasm for scouting ministries and the active role he has taken to mentor the boys as our executive officer. He also is the official merit badge counselor for the birdwatching merit badge. This allows him to share his passion and expertise for his hobby.

Rev. Chitwood also will be assisting with the “God and Me” and “God and Family” classes now underway. Religious emblems will also be presented on Scouting Ministries Sunday. The religious square knot is the only patch that can carry over from the Cub Scout uniform to the Boy Scout uniform and to a leader uniform if earned as a youth.

After the June 2019 Memphis Annual Conference, Rev. Chitwood approached me about his vision for a “scouting wall” in the church to display the scouts’ many awards and certificates.

Pictured is the beautiful shadowbox that Robert Tisdale, Board of Trustees chairman, built for the scouting wall.

The church now has 44 Eagle Scouts. Eagle is the highest honor in scouting.

The youth pictured in front of the scouting wall are church’s five newest Eagle Scouts. They were honored in a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 2. Rev. Chitwood gave the opening and closing prayers. The beautiful cake pictured was donated by a local baker for the reception. She gave it in honor of her grandfather who earned the Eagle rank as a youth and recently passed away.

Both Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 452 give many service hours to the church and community. Even the youngest Cub Scouts that begin in Kindergarten and are in Pack 452 through fifth grade recently served at “The Help Group” in Bartlett, Tennessee, where they go once a month to assist the food bank and clothing closet by bagging items and rolling shopping carts to clients’ cars (with adult supervision).

Scout Troop 452 recently collected and donated gently used tents, sleep mats and sleeping bags to Arlington UMC’s “Burrito Ministry.” Church youth, Youth Minister Rose Vettraino and Rev. Chitwood prepare hot burrito meals to take to downtown Memphis, Tennessee, to serve to homeless persons on the streets. 

Winter months are just ahead for homeless persons living on the streets and the sleeping bags and tents are intended to provide shelter, refuge and warmth and to share God’s love for those in need.

The United Methodist Church charters nearly 20 percent of BSA (Boy Scouts of America) units -- more than 10,000 units in all, serving nearly 350,000 youth.  

UMC scouts are currently able to complete five of eight requirements to earn a special scouting ring to wear affixed to their BSA uniform commemorating 100 years of United Methodist Scouting.