Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
After months of mediation to achieve a settlement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy and working with annual conferences about voting on the plan, the United Methodist Ad Hoc Committee recommends voting NO on the plan.
We do not have a signed settlement that would bring healing to the survivors and a release from claims against United Methodist local churches and other United Methodist entities. These releases are essential to prevent congregations and United Methodist entities from being sued and numerous court cases for United Methodists to defend.
While United Methodists are represented in the mediation and continue to work for a United Methodist settlement, it is not assured that we will receive a settlement. Because voting is occurring at this time, and all votes must be received by December 14, 2021, regretfully, United Methodists are recommended to vote NO.
Voting NO is essential for two important reasons:
- It communicates to the bankruptcy judge that United Methodists do not approve the plan because it does not provide releases for chartering organizations. Chartering organizations are key to successful scouting programs.
- United Methodist local churches and other United Methodist entities will not be released from liability for claims associated with United Methodist local churches involving abuse that took place during scouting activities. This will result in lawsuits against congregations, annual conferences, and other United Methodist entities.
The Committee will continue to work towards a settlement for United Methodist congregations and entities, but until that time, United Methodists should not support the plan. If we do receive a settlement in the near future, we will notify you immediately, and the sample resolution below will aid in a positive change for all charter organizations and United Methodists.
The following sample resolution is for charge conferences that take the vote on their own and boards of trustees who have the authority to vote on behalf of the congregation.
The ________________ United Methodist Church (insert name of the congregation in the blank) votes NO on the BSA Plan of Reorganization because the plan as proposed does not have a release for charter organizations. If prior to the hearing to approve the plan, charter organizations, including United Methodist charter organizations, receive appropriate release from BSA abuse claims relating to scouting activities, the ______________ United Methodist Church reserves the right to change its vote and authorize lawyers representing United Methodists in the BSA bankruptcy to vote in favor of the plan.
Attached is a congregational guide to complete the voting. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure you do not eliminate any rights for release of claims post-January 1, 1976.
We will provide a video update this week to explain briefly what comes next and where to find more information.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the survivors and everyone involved in the mediation.
Bishop Leonard E. Fairley