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 has 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, a review of current policies, and a $30 million settlement, was developed by listening to and engaging in 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. The agreement clarifies the role of the congregation and increased BSA 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 (fillable PDF) or Facility Use Agreement (PDF). 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 Facility 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 facility 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, they should be sent to Steven Scheid (email@example.com) 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 on the GCUMM Scouting page and at https://methodistscouter.org/a-new-agreement/.
Bishop John Schol
Resident Bishop, Greater New Jersey
Interim Bishop, Eastern Pennsylvania
BSA/UMC Team Leader