Boy Scouts earn faith-based honors

by Molly Reitter

Zach Lynn, Nathan Foxx and Matthew Phipps earned the Boy Scout’s God and Church Award after researching the history of Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, as well as the Presbyterian Church as a whole. (Molly Reitter/MIM photo)

A trio of local Boys Scouts earned special recognition after researching the past of their historic church.

Nathan Foxx, Zach Lynn and Matthew Phipps, teenage members of Boy Scout Troop 51 that meets weekly at Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, recently-earned the God and Church Award. The award is given when a scout completes several religion- and reflection-based projects. As part of their efforts to attain the honor, the boys researched the history of Presbyterianism and Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian.

“The scout is required to complete a number of projects based on religious study and personal reflection,” said Nathan’s father Scott Fox, who served as mentor to the boys during the six months it took to earn the honor. “The award was based on the specific religion of the scout doing the work, in this case Presbyterian.”

Scott Foxx said the medals recognize an important part of the Boy Scout Oath, in which scouts pledge to do their duty to their country and God. Requirements are age appropriate and medals require a more deliberate, intense study with each stage of the scout’s growth to adulthood. Each religion, ranging from Christianity to Judaism, has their own version of the program that scouts may complete.

Zach, a tenth-grader at Lincoln Charter School and member of Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian, said he found some personal connections to his research.

“When I was a kid Mr. Robert Lathan (a revered member of the church) used to give all of the children a stick of gum before church,” Zach said. “One of the pictures that I used to display the history of the church was a picture of him and a picture of a cross that was made out of gum wrappers in his honor.”

Historical records show that the church, at 3413 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road in Charlotte, was founded in 1981 by five clans of Scouts. The church began has an offshoot of Paw Creek Presbyterian Church and was named after its first pastor, the Rev. George L. Cook.

Zach became involved with Boy Scouts in the second grade as a Webelo, the scouting program for first- and second-graders that stands for We’ll Be Loyal Scouts. He has achieved the level of Life Scout, the second highest rank behind Eagle Scout.

“I never really liked sports, but I love being outdoors and enjoy hunting and fishing so Boy Scouts has been a good fit for me,” Zach said. “My goal is to become an Eagle Scout within the next year.”

Nathan said he would like to continue with the program and complete all four levels of the Religious Emblems Series. In addition to the God and Church program, these include God and Me, God and Family and God and Life.

“I have enjoyed the God and Church religious award program with Boy Scouts of America,” Nathan said. “I hope to be a four-star recipient someday, which means that with hard work and determination, I will earn all four levels of the program. It takes a lot of effort, but that would be very rewarding for me.”

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