Boy Scouts Look for New Sponsor After Bishop Severs Ties with Organization

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A partnership that has lasted for decades ended over a controversial decision.

Catholic churches have been sponsors for several Boy Scout troops, providing meeting spaces, choosing and setting guidelines for leadership as well as insuring the Scouts.

But many Scout troops are scrambling for new sponsors after an announcement from Bishop David Kagan on Monday.

This picture captures a moment that will never happen again.

"Well, that is the last Eagle Scout about to earn his Eagle at the Church of Saint Joseph's," said Roy Bailey, Troop 54 leader.

Troop 54 is searching for a new sponsor after an announcement from the Bishop of Bismarck's Catholic Diocese that churches cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America and stopped sponsoring troops.

"It's that relationship between sponsorship that I am discounting. I am not saying Catholic boys not to be Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts. I am not asking Catholic adults not to any longer volunteer to be leaders," Bishop Kagan said.

The only Boy Scout Troop in Mandan has had a 60-year relationship with Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, but because of Monday's decision can no longer hold their meetings there. And by the end of the month they'll have to remove all of their gear.

"It's been a great partnership over the years, but obviously a loss on our end, but we'll move forward," said Cory Wrolstad, Northern Lights Council.

The Scouts' Northern Lights Council is confident a new sponsor will step forward to fill the void that's been created for 180 Boy Scouts.

"It's kinda cool; the phone was ringing today from different religious organizations actually wanting to jump on board to start sponsoring Cub Scout troops and Boy Scout packs," Wrolstad said.

Bishop Kagan says he's been praying about this decision for two years, and is sorry that it has come to this.

"Any organization is only as strong as the people who make it up. And as long as we stick together we can find a new chartered organization. The troop will stay together we'll continue to function; we'll just be functioning in a new place," Bailey said.

Bailey says that sexual orientation is not part of scouting. Scout law remains the same. The oath remains the same. The motto remains the same.

Bishop Kagan said that he was a Cub Scout, as well as a Boy Scout. In his letter, he offered various alternatives to the Boy Scout troops. To see those, visit bismarckdiocese.com/news/letter-from-bishop-decision-on-boy-scouts-of-america.