Vespers from Pine Tree Camp
A Scouts’ Own Observance

Vespers for Sunday Evening

A Scout is Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God.
He is faithful in his religious duties.
He respects the beliefs of others.

A Thought for Scout Sunday — From Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys

The old knights were very religious. They were always careful to attend religious services,
especially before going into battle or undertaking any serious difficulty. They considered
it the right thing always to be prepared for death. Besides worshipping God in church, the
knights always recognized His work in the things which He made, such as animals, plants,
and all scenery.

And so it is with peace scouts today. Wherever they go they love the woodlands, the mountains,
and the prairies, and they like to watch and know about the animals that inhabit them, and the
wonders of the flowers and plants.

No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should
have religion.

Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve
your neighbor.

In doing your duty to God always be grateful to Him. Whenever you enjoy a pleasure or a good
game, or succeed in doing a good thing, thank Him for it, if only with a word or two, just as you
say grace at a meal. And it is a good thing to bless other people. For instance, if you see a train
starting off, just pray for God’s blessing on all that are in the train.

In doing your duty towards man, be helpful and generous, and always be grateful for any kindness
done to you, and be careful to show that you are grateful. Remember again that a present given
to you is not yours until you have thanked the giver for it.

While you are living your life on earth, try to do something good which may remain after you.

One writer says: "I often think that when the sun goes down the world is hidden by a big blanket
from the light of heaven, but the stars are little holes pierced in that blanket by those who have
done good deeds in this world. The stars are not all the same size; some are big, some are little,
and some men have done great deeds and others have done small deeds, but they have made
their hole in the blanket by doing good before they went to heaven."

Try to make your hole in the blanket by good work while you are on earth.

It is something to be good, but it is far better to do good.

Call to Prayer

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity.

Psalms 133:1

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalms 9:1-2

Opening Song — America the Beautiful

O, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain.
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O, beautiful for patriots dream,
That sees, beyond the years,
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Responsive Reading — God is the Eternal One

God is the Eternal One,
Who reigned before any being had yet been created;
When all was done according to God’s will,
Already then God’s Name was Sovereign.

And after all has ceased to be,
Still will God reign in solitary majesty;
God was, God is, God shall be in glory.

And God is One,
Without compare,
Without beginning,
Without end;
To God belongs power and dominion.

And the Sovereign of all is my own God,
My living Redeemer,
My Rock in time of trouble and distress;
My banner and my Refuge,
My benefactor, to whom. in anguish, I can call.

Into God’s hands I entrust my spirit,
Both when I sleep as when I wake;
And with my spirit, my body also:
God is with me,
I will not fear.

"Adon Olam" ("God is the Eternal One").
An eleventh-century Hebrew prayer composed by the
Jewish poet and philosopher Solomon Ibn Gibirol.

A Reading from the Book of Psalms — Psalm 145

Each verse should be read by a different Scout or Scouter.

I will extol you, my God and King,
And bless your name for ever and ever

Every day I will bless you,
And praise your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another,
And shall declare your mighty acts.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
And on your wondrous works,
I will meditate.

The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
And I will declare your greatness.

They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
And shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 .
The Lord is good to all,
And his compassion is over all that he has made.

10 .
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
And all your faithful shall bless you.

They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
And tell of your power,

To make known to all people your mighty deeds,
And the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And you dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
And gracious in all his deeds.

The Lord upholds all who are failing,
And raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,
And you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand,
Satisfying the desire of every living thing.

The Lord is just in all his ways,
And kind in all his doings.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
To all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
He also hears their cry, and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him,
But all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

A Prayer for the Boy Scouts

O Lord, we thank you for the work of Sir Robert Baden-Powell,
who in his dedication and wisdom founded the World Scouting Movement.
We thank you for the efforts of those thousands of men and women
who have brought Scouting to millions of boys the world over.

We rededicate ourselves to the principles of our Movement —
To do our best — to do our duty — to God — and to our Country.
We ask you, O Lord, to give us the strength and courage —
each of us — to live up to the Scout Oath — the Scout Law —
and the high ideals of the World Brotherhood of Scouting.

The Scout Oath

Please give the Scout Sign.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

Silent Meditation

(The group should remain standing)

Let us each take a moment to meditate and pray in silence,
Each as his heart moves him.

(Take this moment for silent meditation and reflection)

May the words of my mouth,
And the meditation of my heart,
Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
My rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

A Traditional Scouting Song — Kum-Ba-Yah

(The Scout Law Version)

Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

A Scout’s trustworthy Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is loyal, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is helpful, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

A Scout is friendly, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is courteous, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is kind, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

A Scout’s obedient, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is cheerful, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
A Scout is thrifty, Lord, Kum-ba-yah,
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

A Scout is brave, Lord, Kum-ba-yah
A Scout is clean, Lord, Kum-ba-yah
A Scout is reverent, Lord, Kum-ba-yah
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
Kum-ba-yah my Lord, Kum-ba-yah
O, Lord, Kum-ba-yah.

Come, thou Holy Spirit

Come, thou Holy Spirit
Send from highest heaven
Radiance of thy light.

Come, Father of the poor
Come, giver of all gifts
Come, light of every heart

Of comforters the best
Dear guest of every soul
Refreshment ever sweet

In our labor rest
Coolness in our heat
Comfort in our grief.

Our most blessed light
Fill the inmost hearts
Of thy faithful ones.

Without thy holy presence
All is dark
Nothing free from sin.

What is soiled cleanse
What is dry refresh
What is wounded heal.

What is rigid bend
What is frozen warm
Guide what goes astray

Give thy faithful ones
Who in thee confide
Sevenfold hallowing.

Give goodness its reward
Give journey safe through death
Give joy that has no end.

"Come thou Holy Spirit" ("Veni Sancte Spiritus")
is a thirteenth-century Church hymn of unknown authorship.

Closing Song
Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Then when we first begun.


The Lord bless you and keep you:
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious unto you:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

The First International Jamboree
Olympia, London, 7 August 1920

The First World War ended with the Armistace of November 11, 1918. It took a terrible toll on all sides. The number of killed and wounded in the allied armies was greater that what they would experience in the Second World War …..

When the whole arena was a sea of Scouts … Baden-Powell saluted them, then joined them to walk across the arena through an impressive and colorful lane of flags of all the nations represented at the Jamboree.

Mounting the highest tier of the dais, he turned and faced the great gathering. The moment had come for him to close the Jamboree, to bid the Scouts good-bye. But before he knew what was happening, he heard a clear boyish voice proclaim aloud, "We, the Scouts of the World, salute you, Sir Robert Baden-Powell — Chief Scout of the World!"

Chief Scout of the World! B-P hesitated, taken completely aback. As he slowly raised his hand in the Scout sign, the cheering abruptly ceased. There were a few seconds of impressive silence before his voice rang out with its accustomed force to the farthest corners of the building:

"Brother Scouts, I ask you to make a solemn choice. Differences exist between the peoples of the world in thought and sentiment, just as they do in language and physique. The war has taught us that if one nation tries to impose its particular will upon others, cruel reaction is bound to follow. The Jamboree has taught us that if we exercise mutual forbearance and give-and-take, then there is sympathy and harmony. If it be your will, let us go forth from here determined that we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through the world-wide spirit of the Scout brotherhood, so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and good will among men. Brother Scouts, answer me — will you join in this endeavor?"

A thundering shout answered him: "Yes!"

God speed you in your work," Baden-Powell concluded.

"And fare you well."

About Pine Tree Camp

This Scouts’ Own Service was designed for the first evening of the conference. It is called "Vespers" as it is designed to be held in the evening. The use of the term "vesper" to describe an evening service comes from one of the names of the planet Venus, the Evening Star, which appears on the Western horizon around sunset each day. The word vesper derives from the Ancient Greek word for the West, "Hesperos."

Pine Tree Camp was the Junior Leader Training Conference of the Viking Council in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over a period of years it served as a proving ground for many of the revisions to the JLTC Staff Guide incorporated in the 1993 Printing. In recent years, the program was updated with a new National Syllabus for local council programs called National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT).  Upon the merger of the Viking Council based in Minneapolis, and the Indianhead Council based in St. Paul, a new council was formed, the Northern Star Council.  The two former council youth leadership programs were combined to form Grey Wolf NYLT which now holds 5 week-long NYLT sessions each summer.

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Lewis P. Orans

Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 2009
Last Modified: 7:43 PM on November 7, 2009