United Methodist leaders and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have reached an agreement about new Affiliation and Facility Use Agreements between congregations, scouting units and the BSA. Bishop John Schol, who chairs the UMC Leadership Team, announced the completion in a July 6 letter to U.S. bishops and also shared the news with EPA Conference leaders.
Over the last year, UMC leaders engaged in the Boy Scouts of America reorganization because of sexual abuse in scouting programs over the last 80 years. The two groups have each worked toward ending sexual abuse; and the number of cases has decreased dramatically in United Methodist scouting programs.
“Only 1 percent of all the claims involving UM scout troops occurred in the last 20 years. But one case is too many,” writes Bishop Schol. “The United Methodist Church does not tolerate child sexual abuse. We are all called to continue to work toward ending child sexual abuse.”
He continues, “As United Methodists, we have reached a settlement by working closely with representatives for the survivors. Our agreement, which includes education about safety, review of current policies and a $30 million settlement, was developed by listening to conversations with survivors.”
UM leaders also recognized that the chartering system needed to be updated, Schol explains. UM leaders and the BSA have agreed to a new Affiliation Agreement that replaces former charters. This agreement may be found at www.GCUMM.org/Scouting or www.methodistscouter.org/a-new-agreement/.
The agreement clarifies the role of the congregation and increases insurance for congregations. The following are key points about the agreement.
- Local churches, the Scout Units with which they are associated, and the corresponding BSA Local Councils have until October 31, 2022, to execute and implement their new Affiliation Agreement or Facilities Use Agreement. Scouting leaders from the congregation are to contact their BSA regional scouting representative to set a time to go over and sign the new agreement.
- All current charters and facility use agreements are to continue until BSA completes the new agreement with the congregation and its scouting unit.
- BSA has agreed that the insurance and indemnity provisions included in the new Affiliation Agreement – which BSA agrees will also be included in the approved Facilities Use Agreement – went into effect June 30, 2022.
- Congregations may use the Facility Use Agreement with the Affiliation Agreement or as a stand-alone document if the church is only allowing BSA to use the facilities. The new insurance provisions will be included with the facilities use agreement as well.
- The new agreement is the standard agreement for all UM congregations and is not to be modified. If there are questions about modification, it should be sent to Steven Scheid firstname.lastname@example.org at the General Commission on United Methodist Men so that we may review and evaluate recommendations for future changes.
- The resources and information about the new affiliation agreement may be found here www.GCUMM.org/Scouting or directly www.methodistscouter.org/a-new-agreement/