St John United Methodist Church in Anchorage, Alaska conferred its 100th P.R.A.Y. award on Boy Scout Sunday in February 2017, and exceeded the milestone on Girl Scout Sunday in March when the 114th award was presented. The church offers all four awards (God and Me, God and Family, God and Church, and God and Life) and serves members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and its own youth group. The program started in 2003 by John Anderson, an Eagle Scout who earned his “God and Country” religious award as a youth. John, who has served as a teacher/counselor at St John UMC for nearly all of the awards, explained: “I feel called to this ministry because of the time and effort that was given to me by my pastor and scoutmaster when I was young. Our faith calls us to serve others––to be servant leaders––and, as my life was influenced in positive ways by servant leaders, I want to try to do the same.”
In addition to the youth awards, St. John UMC has presented 24 adult awards for exceptional service to youth.
Photo: The 2017 class of Scouts join their families after receiving P.R.A.Y. awards, along with the Rev. Andy Bartel pastor of St. John UMC (fourth row, third from left) and counselor/teacher John Anderson (third row, third from right).