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Boy Scouts Give Up Disney World to Help Rebuild Church

An 11-year-old Boy Scout suggested to his troop that they give money raised at a Saturday cook-out to help a church rebuild its burned-out sanctuary.

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HENDERSON, N.C. — Time at Disney World could not compete with helping others for three Boy Scout troops in Vance County.

Every year, Boy Scout Troop 691 in Henderson joins with two other troops for a chicken cook-out fundraiser. The proceeds go to pay for a trip to Disney World for the boys.

This year, however, the scouts volunteered to donate money they will raise Saturday to help Union Chapel United Methodist Church rebuild its sanctuary.

Lightning likely sparked a fierce fire on Aug. 10 that burned most of the 178-year-old church to the ground. Among many other items, the church lost its stained glass windows, which were brought from Europe and dated to the early 1800s.

Larry Medlin, described how his 11-year-old son, James, who so far has earned his second-class scout rank, came up with the idea on his own after hearing about the fire.

"James said, 'Daddy, let's raise money to help them build their church instead of going to Disney,'" Larry Medlin said.

Pastor Robert Hammond said he was deeply touched by the boys' unselfish offer.

"We're amazed, because they don't have any relationship with the church," Hammond said.

James Medlin said he simply heard what had happened to Union Chapel and felt that he and his buddies should do their part, "because everybody should have a place to go to church."

"You don't hear that much from little children," Larry Medlin said.

Church members said they hope to start building a new sanctuary by late spring 2008, but still have a lot more fundraising to do. Rebuilding will take one to two years and cost about $1 million. Insurance will probably only cover about $400,000, church officials said, because they couldn't afford a policy that covered the church's worth.

Those challenges make the donation by the Boy Scouts all the more special, church leaders said.

Troop leaders said that the Scouts seemed to have inspired unselfish behavior throughout their community.

"People throughout town have called us, (saying), 'Hey, what can I do?'" Troop 691 scoutmaster Tomie Patrick said.

The Boy Scouts will hold the chicken cook-out Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Union Chapel United Methodist Church, 6479 Raleigh Road, south of Henderson. Each dinner costs $6, and all proceeds go to rebuilding the sanctuary.

Troop leaders said they hope to cook up and serve at least 1,200 chickens.


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