Displaced Alabaster Scouts find new home

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cub Scout Pack 220 and Boy Scout Troop 220 have found a new home in Alabaster First United Methodist Church's Restore building. (File)

Cub Scout Pack 220 and Boy Scout Troop 220 have found a new home in Alabaster First United Methodist Church’s Restore building. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

As the end of July loomed this summer, Glenda Bentley and other leaders of Alabaster’s Cub Scout Pack 220 lost sleep worrying about where the pack would meet in the future.

“We were pretty worried about it,” Bentley, Pack 220’s committee chair, said during a Sept. 24 interview. “There were some sleepless nights.”

In May, several local churches announced they would be ending their association with the Boy Scouts of America after the national organization voted to allow openly homosexual members. Included in the churches cutting ties with the BSA was Alabaster’s Westwood Baptist Church, which chartered Boy Scout Troop 220 and Cub Scout Pack 220.

As a result of the vote, Westwood Baptist ended its charter with the pair of scout troops on July 31.

“We knew early on that we may be in this situation if the decision came down (from BSA),” Bentley said. “We started looking for a new charter organization, but nobody wanted to continue until we knew what the (BSA) decision would be.”

While searching for a new place to meet, Pack 220 and Troop 220 began meeting with leaders at Alabaster First United Methodist Church.

“We already had a Boy Scout troop, and we were kind of quietly looking for a Cub Scout troop,” said First United Methodist Pastor Brian Erickson.

After Methodist Church leaders began meeting with the pair of Scout troops, the church’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to welcome the troops to the church’s Restore building.

Erickson said First United Methodist did not hesitate to welcome the troops.

“I understand where their hearts are, and I appreciate them taking a stand for what they believe in,” Erickson said of churches who ended their association with the BSA. “But I feel we have chosen a handful of moral issues, and this is all we are going to talk about.

“Jesus preached about welcoming children, and we are just thrilled to have them here,” Erickson said. “We still believe that Boy Scouts are a place where young lives are changed.”