|July 8, 2022
Dear Virginia Annual Conference:
I am pleased to inform you that after extensive discussions between the UMC BSA Leadership team, led by Bishop John Schol, and the Boy Scouts leadership team, there are new agreements for local churches to use with the BSA.
These new agreements better protect the children participating in scouting programs and will also better protect the local churches by making clear the respective roles of the churches and the BSA. Below please find a summary of the agreements provided by Bishop Schol as well as links to the new annual affiliation agreement and the facilities use agreement.
Some of you may have previously received a new agreement in conjunction with a June 16, 2022 Zoom call that was held with the Boy Scouts and the UMC. The agreements referenced above, and found at the links below, replace and supersede the June 16, 2022 agreement.
Please carefully read the information from Bishop Schol and the accompanying agreements. You will see that there are significant, positive changes in how churches interact with the Boy Scouts, including increased insurance coverage. Please note that the agreements cannot be modified.
If you have any questions about the agreements or related matters, please direct those questions to your regional Boy Scouts Council. The Conference does not have the answers about how Scouting will work at your local church. That is between the local church and the Boy Scouts. Also, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the local church is required to sign the agreement.
Information From Bishop John Schol (in bold and italic)
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.
Over the last year, leaders of The United Methodist Church engaged in the Boy Scouts of America reorganization because of sexual abuse in scouting programs over the last 80 years. United Methodist Leaders and the BSA each have worked toward ending sexual abuse and the number of cases have decreased dramatically in United Methodist scouting programs to the point that only 1% of all the claims involving UM scout troops occurred in the last 20 years. But one case is too many. The United Methodist Church does not tolerate child sexual abuse. We are all called to continue to work toward ending child sexual abuse.
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 and conversations with survivors.
UM leaders also recognized that the chartering system needed to be updated. UM leaders and the BSA have agreed to a new Affiliation Agreement that replaces former charters with an Affiliation Agreement. This agreement may be found at the web link below. The agreement clarifies the role of the congregation and increased insurance for congregations. The following are key points about the agreement.
1. 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.
2. All current charters and facility use agreements are to continue until BSA completes the new agreement with the congregation and its scouting unit.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 [email protected] at the General Commission on United Methodist Men so that we may review and evaluate recommendations for future changes.
6. 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/
To obtain the documents, please click on the links below
United Methodist Congregations and Boy Scouts of America Annual Affiliation Agreement
Facilities Use Agreement for United Methodist Churches and Boy Scouts of America
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
The Rev. Dr. Steven J. Summers
Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries
The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church
Office: 804-521-1133; Cell: 804-822-2824
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606