BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA & THE UMC
April 17, 2023 – GCFA Issues Update and Frequently Asked Questions Resource
In February 2020, The Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware in response to facing a significant number of lawsuits involving allegations of child sexual abuse. According to the BSA, the bankruptcy filing was intended to permit it to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.”
Because United Methodist local churches have been one of the largest collections of chartering organizations for Scout troops, a “United Methodist Ad Hoc Committee” – consisting of several chancellors, two bishops, and two lawyers employed by GCFA – was formed to advocate for United Methodist interests within the bankruptcy proceeding. The Committee’s involvement ultimately led to a negotiated settlement, which includes a contribution by United Methodists of $30 million.
In September 2022, the bankruptcy court approved a reorganization plan for the BSA that included the settlement negotiated by the Committee. While the approved plan was supported by most bankruptcy participants, the court’s ruling was appealed to the United States District Court located in Delaware. On March 28, 2023, that district court released an opinion affirming approval of the reorganization plan.
December 1, 2022 – Update of Affiliation Agreements and Facilities Agreements
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy agreement with The United Methodist Church was approved by the court and is now under further review along with the BSA reorganization plan. Currently BSA is ahead of projections this year for recruiting new troops and has decided not to extend all previous charters beyond December 31, 2022, for the following two reasons.
If you have questions about the BSA Affiliation Agreement or about the Facilities Use Agreement, please e-mail Steven Scheid, the scouting executive for United Methodist Men.
If your local BSA Council is not complying with the new BSA organizational agreement, please e-mail Jeffrey Hunt, who oversees the BSA Councils across the United States.
September 22, 2022 - A Scouting Message from United Methodist Men
Since 1920, the Methodist Church has held a formal relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Over the last two plus years, a set of options for the local church to serve have been established. Please use them as they were negotiated in good faith with the BSA to best protect the churches, support the units, and stay faithful to ministry.
The updated Affiliation Agreement transfers the ownership to the local council, which shares the EIN and approves adults. It offers the church the full protection and full investment opportunity with the youth and leaders of the Scouting unit. The Facilities Use Agreement also offers the church protection and the full investment of ministry opportunity allowing the Scouting units to stay within The United Methodist Church without specifically pointing to who owns the unit, although it could be the local council.
September 2, 2022 – Current Charters & Facility Use Agreements Continue Until December 31, 2022
Updates from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and The United Methodist Church (UMC):
August 1, 2022 – UMC Portion of Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Ruling Approved
A 281-page ruling July 29 in the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings indicates that most of the reorganization plan meets the criteria of bankruptcy law and is constitutional. The ruling approves the United Methodist portion of the settlement, but there are several more matters the BSA must address for the plan to be confirmed. The United Methodist settlement includes a $30 million contribution to the $2.6 billion survivor settlement; a commitment to hear the experiences of survivors who participated in United Methodist-sponsored troops; a review of all Safe Sanctuaries policies in United Methodist congregations and annual conferences; and the publication of three articles in denominational communication resources about sexual abuse and how to keep young people safe.
July 11, 2022 – UMC & BSA Reach Agreement on Use of New Affiliation Agreement and New Facilities Use Agreement
The United Methodist Church does not tolerate child sexual abuse and we are each called to work toward ending the sexual abuse of children. Over the last year, leaders of The United Methodist Church have been engaged with the efforts of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to reorganize its organization as the result of sexual abuse in scouting programs over the last 80 years. Only 1% of all the claims involving UM scout troops occurred in the last 20 years, but even one case is too many. In December 2021, after months of listening to and having conversations with survivors of abuse in the Scouting program, United Methodists reached a $30 million settlement that includes education about safety and review of current policies. United Methodist leaders and the BSA have now also agreed to a new Affiliation Agreement that clarifies a congregation’s role and increases its insurance.
View and download a flowchart to help answer the question “Does my church want to continue to live in ministry to youth through Scouting?”.
View and download the UMC/BSA Affiliation Agreement.
View and download the UMC/BSA Facilities Use Agreement.
December 21, 2021 - UM Communications Press Release: United Methodists Reach Settlement in Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Case
United Methodist leaders have reached a settlement in the matter of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) pending bankruptcy proceedings. Upon final court approval, the settlement would absolve any claims of sexual abuse that may have occurred in congregation-sponsored Scouting programs.
Under the terms of the settlement, United Methodists would raise and give $30 million over a three-year period into a fund that will be utilized to compensate survivors, and United Methodist congregations that charter Scout troops and packs would be released from all abuse claims involving Scouting activities. A team has been formed to identify strategies and materials that may be used to raise the funds. The church would also agree to work for the healing of survivors and recommit to work toward ending sexual abuse of young people. Through the General Commission on United Methodist Men, United Methodists will work with the BSA to continue to ensure Scout safety and grow Scouting ministry as part of its mandate through The Book of Discipline.
December 1, 2021 - Important BSA Update: Disclosure Statement Packet/Opt-Out Form
Dear East Ohio Conference Pastors and Churches,
Many United Methodist churches have received a package in the mail relating to the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) bankruptcy case. The mailing – the Disclosure Statement Packet (“Packet”) – was sent by the BSA to all organizations (including United Methodist local churches) known to have currently or previously chartered a Boy Scout troop. The Packet is intended to summarize for chartered organizations how the BSA’s proposed plan of reorganization will affect the legal rights of chartered organizations with respect to Scouting-related sexual abuse claims.
The Packet includes, among other documents, a Summary Regarding Chartered Organizations’ Options Under the BSA’s Chapter 11 Plan (“CO Summary”) and a Participating Chartered Organization Opt-out Election Form (“Opt-Out Form”). Following the recommendation of the United Methodist Ad Hoc Committee, the East Ohio Conference Boy Scouts of America Leadership Team recommends that local churches do not opt out of this post-1975 release, but instead simply destroy the Opt-Out Form. After destroying the Opt-Out Form, local churches that did not file a Proof of Claim form prior to November 16, 2020, have taken all the necessary steps to respond to the Packet.
Local churches that did file a Proof of Claim will have received in their Packet an additional form, the Indirect Abuse Claims Ballot. Pastors of churches that received a Ballot should contact their district superintendent for guidance on how to complete the Ballot before the December 14, 2021, voting deadline.
If you have a question for the EOC BSA Leadership Team, please e-mail BSA_UMC_questions@eocumc.com. You may also view the BSA FAQ to see if the answer to your question is posted there. The BSA FAQ was produced by the Leadership Team and is published on the Conference website.The East Ohio Conference BSA Leadership Team
October 18, 2021 – Update from Bishop Tracy S. Malone About Boy Scouts of America & The UMC
This update is being shared with all pastors and local churches within the Conference to ensure it reaches every local church that might receive a Disclosure Statement Package in the near future. If your church has not chartered a Boy Scout troop, it’s possible that you might not receive the Disclosure Statement Package described below – and that’s ok. But if you do receive the Package, DO NOT FILL IT OUT.
In the coming days, many of our United Methodist churches will receive a package in the mail from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy case. The mailing is called a Disclosure Statement Package and it is being sent to all chartered organizations that sponsored a troop with the Boy Scouts. It is intended to summarize for chartered organizations how the BSA’s proposed plan of reorganization will affect the legal rights of chartered organizations with respect to Scouting-related sexual abuse claims potentially connected to chartered organizations.
The Package is being sent by the BSA to all known chartered organizations, so it will be received by local churches that are chartered organizations regardless of whether they filed a proof of claim. ANY LOCAL CHURCH THAT RECEIVES THE PACKAGE SHOULD TAKE NO ACTION AT THIS TIME. The United Methodist Ad Hoc Committee is developing recommendations for local churches on how to complete the included ballot, which will be shared as soon as they are complete (and well before the voting deadline of December 14, 2021).
October 6, 2021 – Update from Bishop Tracy S. Malone About Boy Scouts of America & The UMC
The following is a joint statement of the Boy Scouts of America and United Methodist leadership working on resolving United Methodist claims.
“United Methodist leadership and the BSA have agreed to the following joint statement regarding the status of units chartered by United Methodist churches.
“The Boy Scouts of America and United Methodist leadership continue to work together to resolve matters related to BSA’s financial restructuring and have agreed, in the best interest of the young people who participate in Scouting, to strongly recommend to United Methodist chartering organizations and Boy Scout Councils to extend existing charter agreements and facility use agreements in force at this time through March 31, 2022. There will be no additional fee required from those chartering organizations through March 31, 2022. This will pause new chartering, re-chartering, and the use of facility use agreements with United Methodist churches. This automatic extension will allow Boy Scouts of America, United Methodist leadership, and other parties in the bankruptcy case time to resolve important issues affecting chartered organizations, including a favorable release for chartered organizations for any Scout abuse claims.”
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.
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. If you have a question for the EOC BSA leadership team, please e-mail the team at BSA_UMC_Questions@eocumc.com.
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.
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