I Am United Methodist: Amanda Vogt
Enthusiasm springs from Amanda Vogt's mouth whenever she speaks. That is especially true when she talks about her church or scouting.
"I've gone to Salem United Methodist Church in Ballwin, Missouri, since I was born," she said. "It's a St. Louis joke, but my Salem is not to be confused with Salem United Methodist in Ladue, which is down the road from us."
"I really love my church," Vogt said. "I love that we are so open to helping anyone. Our church has about 80 members, small compared to some of the others around us, but we do big things. Every Sunday we talk about ministry opportunities. We open our doors to the Rotary Club, AARP, visiting church groups who need a place to stay, scouts, of course, and any other group that needs space. We are open to everyone."
Vogt doesn't separate her church and scouting because of how fundamental duty to God and being of service to others is, both at Salem and in scouting.
"Our church is small in membership, but big in heart," she said. "We have fewer than five high schoolers attending our church right now, but we have more than 200 scouts that come through our doors for the scouting program. My passion is building the next generation of believers and leaders, and scouting helps me do that."
A long-time mentor "loves having Salem in the community because we open our doors to any scout group in need – even the Catholic groups that don't have a space to meet in their own church," she said with a laugh. "That's the power to change lives that The United Methodist Church has. We just need to take the opportunity and open our doors and our hearts to those youth and adults in need in our local communities."
Vogt continued, "With more than 50 percent of scout families not claiming any home church, scouting serves as a way to open our church doors to multiple generations — from grandparents down to kindergarten students — who haven't found a church home yet."
Now the scouting coordinator for the Missouri Annual Conference, Vogt also serves on the Boy Scout National Religious Relations Committee. That connection also places her on the General Commission on United Methodist Men. She said with a laugh, "Not a lot of women have their picture on the United Methodist Men's website!"
She called the Religious Relations Committee "probably the most ecumenical group you will ever find." Meeting three times a year, its primary duty is to make sure duty to God stays in the forefront of all events and publications.
"At one of our scouting events, we had a conference room with display tables set up for a number of (faith groups) to display their contributions to scouting," she said. "Unfortunately, we were a few tables short. A Muslim Scout leader asked if anyone would be willing to share a table with him, and the first person to volunteer to share was a Jewish leader. Scouting brought them together."
Polly House, editorial assistant, Interpreter
"I am United Methodist" is a regular department of Interpreter featuring stories of individual laity and clergy eager to claim their United Methodist identity. To suggest a person to feature, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.