For Immediate Release
Contact: Pamela Nielsen, 314-996-1215, @thelcms
LCMS Signs Memorandum of Understanding with American Heritage Girls
ST. LOUIS (May 14, 2014) – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison and American Heritage Girls (AHG) Executive Director Patti Garibay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) May 14, 2014.
The LCMS recommends AHG because it is faith-based. The MOU states, “WHEREAS: The American Heritage Girls program is centered on the same principles, and partners with the local LCMS church to assist and support girls through spiritual development, life skill enhancement, development of teamwork, social skills, citizenship, girl leadership skills while building confidence and discovering their identity in Christ.”
“Therefore be it RESOLVED, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and American Heritage Girls will work together, within the guidelines of the policies and regulations of each organization to establish and nurture American Heritage Girls Troops within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod so that girls may be provided with life skills, leadership development opportunities, service programs, and character building opportunities.”
To review the MOU in its entirety Click here
“Now more than ever, families are looking for programs that complement their family’s values and are eternally impactful. The AHG program of leadership, character development and outward focus accomplishes just that,” says Garibay.
“The LCMS highly regards organizations like the American Heritage Girls because they provide a valuable outlet for young women to carry out their vocations in service to neighbor,” said President Harrison. “Furthermore, the AHG respects and supports the LCMS in her desire to serve God and care for His people in a manner that brings glory to Christ, even in this challenging age of moral and cultural collapse in America, especially as it relates to the family. We are thankful to enter into this MOU with the American Heritage Girls and look forward to seeing the good that God might bring about from our work together.”
Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG currently has more than 34,000 members across the globe with 772 troops. AHG’s mission is building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. With emphasis on Christian values and family involvement, girls participate in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences. In the past four years, AHG has experienced 40 percent membership growth annually. Faith-based organizations like churches, schools and civic organizations can charter AHG troops to achieve their ministry goals for youth.
LCMS congregations have been working together with AHG for several years, with more than 65 AHG troops and 1,700 members currently in LCMS churches. Since they are structured with local charters that are operated by congregations, the LCMS believed it was important to create an MOU so that congregations would have guidance and support in working with AHG.
“AHG is a wonderful organization that allows the local congregation to run the program and have oversight of all spiritual care for the troop,” said the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission. “Shaping young women to be faithful Christians and strong citizens who care for the world and their neighbor are among the many laudable core tenets of AHG, so we want to strengthen our congregations’ participation with AHG and encourage others who might be interested in scouting for their girls.”
Thank you, LCMS!! AHG has truly been a blessing to our family. Their partner for boys, Trail Life USA, which started in the wake of the BSA membership changes last year, has been a blessing to us as well. AHG started for the same reasons when Girl Scouts made those same changes. That was almost 20 years ago. Here’s hoping that the LCMS will make the same recommendation for Trail Life soon, not 20 years from now.
Another thank you to President Harrison and our synodical leadership. This is so timely. We have just recently began discussing our congregation’s relationship to GSA, and this will be valuable guidance as we seek the Lord’s will for our church.