Buddhist Service One of Many Forms of Worship at Boy Scouts Jamboree

August 1, 2005

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch



On August 1, 2005 the Richmond Times Dispatch reported, "More than 400 Boy Scouts and their leaders gathered around [The Rev. Jeanette Shin, a Buddhist chaplain in the U.S. Navy], whose service at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree offered a chance for Scouts from other faiths to experience a Buddhist worship service for the first time... Yesterday's service provided a glimpse into jodo shinshu Buddhism, the Japanese form that Shin practices and one of several different Buddhist traditions... The service, originally scheduled to be held in a dining hall, was moved outside because the building could not hold the overflow crowd that surprised organizer Victor Iwamura, the jamboree's Buddhist Scout committee chairman. 'I'm overwhelmed,' said Iwamura, who estimated that perhaps 60 of the jamboree's 43,000 Scouts, leaders and participants had registered as Buddhists... Scouts are 'strongly encouraged' to attend a religious service while they are at the 10-day jamboree, said Renee Fairrer, a national Scouts spokeswoman. She added that Scout officials suggest that the boys experience a religion outside their normal sphere. Elsewhere yesterday, Episcopalians and Friends (Quakers) scheduled services near Fish Hook Lake. Roman Catholics planned to hold Mass near an American Indian village exhibit. Jewish adherents attended synagogue Saturday. Scout officials say Muslim worshippers can be seen halting their activities each day to kneel in prayer facing Mecca. Alex Frakes, a 14-year-old Scout from San Diego, said religion plays an important role in Scouting."