BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA & THE UMC
September 17, 2021 – Updated Boy Scouts of America Information from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Dear Pastors and Church Leaders,
The United Methodist Church, as a connectional system, is a gift to conferences, districts, and local churches of our denomination because it provides avenues for shared mission and witness and the sharing and receiving of resources, ideas, and expertise. Currently, I and my episcopal colleagues across the Church are continuing to work with our respective conference chancellors and counsel for The United Methodist Church to resource our conferences and the local churches that charter Boy Scout troops.
As I stated in my letter to you on August 18, the Boy Scouts of America has declared bankruptcy resulting from abuse allegations going back many decades. Because United Methodist churches are often the chartering organization for those Scout troops, our churches are at risk of being included in legal proceedings as abuse victims seek redress.
To resource our pastors, congregations, and faith communities, I formed the East Ohio Conference Boy Scouts of America (EOC BSA) leadership team. The Conference leaders that were selected was because of the roles they serve, based upon the guidance received from our denomination’s Ad Hoc Committee representing the interests of The United Methodist Church in this legal matter. The EOC BSA leadership team is:
The EOC BSA leadership team, working in consultation with leadership of The United Methodist Church, strongly urges:
Some East Ohio Conference churches have been named in the legal proceedings involving the Boy Scouts of America. The EOC BSA leadership team has notified the current pastors of those churches and more information is being provided directly to them.
The United Methodist Church continues to be supportive of scouting, and counsel for our denomination is resourcing the Conference leadership team so that we can provide information and guidance to our pastors, congregations, and faith communities. If you have a question for the EOC BSA leadership team, please e-mail the team at BSA_UMC_Questions@eocumc.com.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
August 25, 2021 – BSA Bankruptcy Affects United Methodist Congregations
United Methodist Communications Office of Public Information Press Release
Nashville, Tenn.: The United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations have a relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which dates back more than 100 years. In February 2020, the BSA announced the national organization would file for bankruptcy to allow it to continue carrying on its mission while also compensating sexual abuse victims who were harmed during their time in scouting. While the bankruptcy is ongoing, the BSA, along with its local councils, recently reached an agreement with representatives of most of the survivors on a proposed $850 million settlement.
At this time, negotiations are ongoing for other parties with an interest in the bankruptcy. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. United Methodist congregations represent the largest active collection of chartered organizations. The interests of those congregations are represented by an ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests, which is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations.
The ad hoc committee has advised that churches that support scouting units should: (1) agree to extend an expiring charter through December 31, rather than renew that charter; (2) replace an expiring charter with a facilities use agreement that expires on December 31; or (3) terminate an existing charter and replace it with a facilities use agreement that expires on December 31. All of those options allow more time to see how the bankruptcy will impact United Methodist congregations.
August 18, 2021 – Letter from Bishop Tracy S. Malone to Clergy and Church Leadership
As you may be aware, the Boy Scouts of America has declared bankruptcy resulting from abuse allegations going back many decades. Because United Methodist churches are often the chartering organization for those Scout troops, our churches are at risk of being included in legal proceedings as abuse victims seek redress.
This is the time of year when local Scout troops recharter with their host United Methodist churches. Because the legal process is ongoing, and because the implications of entering a new charter are unknown, we have been advised by our Conference Chancellor, Rex Miller, and by counsel for the General United Methodist Church to direct all East Ohio United Methodist churches to do the following:
Do not initiate or renew any chartering agreements this fall.
Until we better know the implications of the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy and the presentation of abuse claims, we recommend two options:
Pastors and local church leadership are asked to work together to determine how best to communicate your intentions regarding charter agreements and facilities use agreements to both the Scout Council and your local church. After December 31, 2021, we should be in a better position to see how the future will unfold. Once a BSA plan is approved by the bankruptcy court, we will know better how to proceed.
October 27, 2020 – Deadline for Filing BSA Proof of Claim is Nov. 16, 2020
Many of our East Ohio Conference churches are currently serving, or previously have served, as a chartering organization for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which involves signing an agreement with the BSA that codifies an association between the local church and the local troop. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy in February, an act that disrupts many of the promises BSA made as part of that chartering agreement. It is imperative that the church act immediately to maintain balance in this agreement before the courts resolve the bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing comes at a time when hundreds of individuals have filed sex-abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. BSA has set-up a victim compensation fund with the participation of its insurance carrier.
It makes sense for churches that serve or served as chartering organizations for the BSA to file a Proof of Claim form to secure protection for the church and provide access to compensation funds for any possible victims. Proof of Claim forms must be filed no later than November 16.
If you have a question for EOC BSA leadership, please e-mail the team.
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Fax: (330) 966-7581
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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