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Dear Pastor:

I hope you are well and enjoying the beautiful fall season. The purpose of this letter is to reiterate key information about the Boy Scouts bankruptcy that you received in an October 11 letter.

Some of you may be receiving settlement information from the Boy Scouts and related information from other organizations about the Boy Scouts matter. It is important that if you receive the Boy Scouts’ packet that you do not take any action, i.e., respond to it, at this time. If you do receive such information, or have received such information, please promptly notify the Conference at: bsa@vaumc.org.

More complete information from the Ad Hoc Committee of The United Methodist Church about this matter is below, in bold. Much of the information is similar to what was sent on October 11, but it is important to review again.

I will continue to keep you informed about important matters with the Boy Scouts bankruptcy. Thank you again for your attention to these important matters.

Peace and Blessings, 

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis

Information from the Ad Hoc Committee of The United Methodist Church

October 27, 2021

You may have received one or more packets in the mail about the Boy Scout bankruptcy. Presently, congregations who filed a proof of claim may vote on the proposed bankruptcy plan. The BSA is required to send to all present and past congregations who chartered a scout troop a packet of information about the bankruptcy. Additionally, organizations that are trying to influence a congregation’s vote are also sending information which may confuse congregations about what to do.

 If you or your congregation received a packet, please adhere to the following.

Important BSA Bankruptcy Update – Receipt of Disclosure Statement Package

This update is being shared with all pastors serving 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 does not receive the Packet, you can safely ignore this update. If you do receive the packet, do not take any action at this time.

In the coming days, many United Methodist churches will receive a package in the mail from the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case.  The mailing is being sent to all chartered organizations that sponsored a troop with Boy Scouts and is called a Disclosure Statement Package. 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 will include the following: 

  • A “plan language” summary of the Disclosure Statement drafted specifically for chartered organizations;
  • An “opt out” form relating to options all chartered organizations have as to how sexual abuse claims against each chartered organization will be dealt with. THIS SHOULD NOT BE FILLED OUT BY A LOCAL CHURCH UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE (more information on this will be provided in the next two weeks); and
  • A ballot for casting a vote for or against the plan (only local churches that timely filed a “proof of claim” with the bankruptcy court will receive a ballot, other chartered organizations will only receive the rest of the Package). THIS SHOULD NOT BE FILLED OUT AT THIS TIME (more information on this will be provided in the next two weeks).

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 also 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). Local churches will also be provided with a summary of the most important aspects of the plan. Additionally, information sessions for district superintendents, as well as webinars for church leaders about how to complete the form, why the vote matters, and how the outcome may affect our congregations, will be provided.

We also take this opportunity to remind you that all chartering and facility use agreements are paused because it is creating disruption to scouts, congregation’s ministry and the work of mediation. There is a team of people working on the relationship agreements with scouting that will better assist congregations and potential liability that can be used in the future. Any work on chartering now is creating disruption that is not assisting everyone in moving forward. If you or congregational leadership is approached by a BSA Council representative about re-chartering, indicate that the BSA and UMC have an agreement to pause all chartering until after the bankruptcy is resolved.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. God is seeing us through this challenging time.

Keep the faith!

(View as pdf)

For additional information, please contact the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant