Becoming a Part of History
It could have been just about any day during 1833. The imposing and majestic Trinity United Methodist Church graced the landscape representing a local landmark on Meeting Street in bustling low country Charleston SC. In fact, the church predates the creation of The United Methodist Church…and the Civil War…and even electricity.
Meeting Street was a bed of encrusted dirt and stone hosting the clip-clopping of horse and carriage commuters going to and fro about their business. With white Corinthian columns and richly detailed interior the Church building was only a year old and had begun what has become an incredibly rich history of witnessing the ages and progress through the generations.
Fast forward to the evening of Friday January 18, 2019. Horses & carriages a distant memory, with street lights glaring and impatient traffic making it’s entry exceptionally difficult our Boy Scout troop’s state of the art bus tightly squeezed into the back parking lot. To be there meant to realize we became part of this building’s history…what it had observed through the decades and almost two centuries.
A combination of Antebellum architecture verging on the beauty of a Gilded Age worship place the building remains stunning.
We’ve all heard it: the saying “If these walls could talk.” As Pastor Mike Wood led David, Willis, Dave, Scott, Mike, Andrew and me on the “nickel tour” all I could imagine is what this building has endured: the life celebrations, the heartache and the history of our country this place has seen.
What’s Been Going On Since 1832?
Trinity saw the first shot of Civil war fired in its midst, witnessed Lovenia Fisher become South Carolina’s first female to be executed for murder, and endured through the Women’s Movement. It was there as the sexual revolution unfolded and provided refuge for prayerful congregants through Jonestown, Woodstock, and Neil Armstrong stepping foot on the moon.
Trinity stood majestically serving worshippers through the
- Mexican – American War (1846-1848)
- American Civil War (1861–1865)
- Spanish-American War (1898)
- World War I (1914-1918)
- World War II (1939-1945)
- Korean War (1950-1953)
- The Vietnam War (1955-1973)
- The Gulf War (1990-1991)
That Time Boy Scouts Happened
From across the pond Trinity stood when Lord Badin Powell established a scouting program for young men. The church also knew the time an American business man, William Boyce, brought the Lone Scout program to the States (this eventually became Boy Scouts of America; c. 1924).
Trinity was there as a start up church 180 miles northwest in Charlotte chartered a Boy Scouts Troop (December, 1969). Over the past fifty years hundreds of boys & their families have learned to serve through Boy Scouting’s Duty to God, Duty to Country & Duty to others. They say…whomever “they are” only 4 – 7% of young men who are scouts to earn the Eagle rank. Troop 118’s heritage evidences a much higher rate. In the last few weeks we’ve seen Eagle numbers 200 & 201 achieve rank. We’ve collected more than 22,000 pounds of non-perishable food for Charlotte’s Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, protected the environment by Adopting-A-Stream in Mecklenburg County, and left it better than we found it by putting our outdoor code to work. This year marks Charlotte’s BSA Troop 118’s 50th anniversary.
(A few images from our celebration banquet on February 9th)
All of this reflection might beg the question: What additional history will the old walls at Trinity in Charleston observe? The first female U.S. President, colonization in space, flyer cars (Boeing has recently tested driverless air taxis); a cure for cancer, for dementia or a drug to combat alcoholism? All promise to materialize.
The possibilities remain endless. It’s something to think about the next time you are in an old building: “If these walls could talk,” what would they reveal to us?
This month Boy Scouts of America becomes Scouts BSA & I’ve Accepted the Change.
(Before I Open Pandora’s Box: these are my expressed thoughts and do not represent a collective opinion of either our Troop’s leadership or Charter Organization)
While I am 100% in opposition to discrimination and sexism I honestly admit I have personally struggled with recent Boy Scout organizational decisions. I believe God, our Creator, created males & females to be unique divine creations reflecting His will and to fulfill His desire for our lives. Sexual identities aside, the sexes as different genders share particular commonalities the opposite sex is not created to either experience or understand. Simply stated, boys will be boys & girls will be girls…at least that’s what naturally occurring testosterone or estrogen levels in our bodies dictate. Nothing we can do changes the precise moment in time when, at fertilization, our gender is determined (albeit people make decisions to change their gender, “identify” with the opposite sex, and influence everyone else’s right to his, her or its opinion. I threw the “its” in there for the people who would call me out for not being sensitive to the gender neutral. I can’t say I understand your neutrality…you either are or you aren’t).
It is ludicrous to expect that young men and young women could experience the exact same Scouting life. It is not plausible for any two people experience the same thing the same way at all…ever. This fact is a gift that characterizes life’s uniqueness.
My thoughts regarding young ladies joining the Scouting program began to change when one of my prolific, genuinely Christian and fellow Troop leaders whom I deeply respect made a statement about his daughter. In short he said “quite frankly I have no problem with a program that would accept my daughter if she wanted to become an Eagle.” Why should the fun and rigors of Boy Scouting be limited to boys?
I want to be clear: Although girls can now create and join a Scout Troop, there will not be coed scouting under the new current structure. The girls who join will experience scouting with their sex; the boys will continue to meet with young men. The National Scouting organization has done a poor job clarifying the new organization for the media amidst a highly misinformed court of public opinion.
Girl Scouting, while it provides a definitive curriculum and experience, does not offer the depth of endeavor and life long prestige of rank becoming an Eagle Scout brings. We live in a world where people segregated in any way ALWAYS find a path to penetrate barriers. This is especially true when one group has something other groups want. This time it is females having the ability to join Boy Scouting’s traditional brotherhood. This will happen whether we acknowledge it or not.
Back to Church on Meeting Street
It won’t be too many years before the Trinity congregation celebrates the building’s 200th anniversary (in 2032). In addition to all the events mentioned the beautiful church on Meeting Street will see the envelopment of young ladies into Scouting. Like every other social movement this change will become the commonly accepted norm. 50 years from now this change will not matter to the involved families. I understand this and shall, somewhat reluctantly, embrace the change. However, today as my sons’ Boy Scout Troop turns 50, I proudly and happily celebrate Boy Scouts of America – Troop 118’s heritage and the dimension it has added to an entire brotherhood for five decades. This milestone is a gift to be celebrated.
Yours in Scouting.