On December 14, 2022, the Virginia Conference provided an update on the two Boy Scouts of America (BSA) agreements that should be used by local churches. We expressed concern that the Annual Affiliation Agreement being circulated by the BSA and the General Commission on United Methodist Men had removed an important, reasonable clause explicitly requiring a criminal background check at least once every three years on every adult already volunteering with the BSA in some capacity at the local church.
We are pleased to report that on December 15, 2022, a revised BSA-UMC Annual Affiliation Agreement was issued that requires, “a further criminal background check at least once every two years on every adult that serves as a Local Scouting Unit leader or volunteer.” This is important and good news. Frequent, follow-up background checks on BSA volunteers that work with children in our local churches mean greater protection for those children and greater protection for the local churches that allow the BSA to use their facility.
The Virginia Conference believes that churches can be well served with the revised Annual Affiliation Agreement, which can be found here. We also believe local churches can be well served by using the September 2022 Facilities Use Agreement if the Annual Affiliation Agreement is not the best option. The Facilities Use Agreement can be found here. The Facilities Use Agreement has a minor change from the version we referenced previously in correspondence on June 29, 2022, and December 14, 2022.
The text of these documents should not be modified and only the forms in the preceding paragraph should be used. Local churches may also wish to consult with their own legal counsel about these matters to ensure their interests are protected.
Thanks for your attention to these important developments.