Dear UMC Institutional Heads:
Thank you for the impact you have on the youth of our community through Scouting and the United Methodist Church. In an effort to keep you informed as the Institutional Head of a Chartering Boy Scouts of America program with United Methodist Church of the North Georgia Conference, we have included news from Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson below. Please take a moment to review the message.
The key takeaway in this communication is to support your continued patience in the charter renewal process, all UMC BSA 2021 charters will be extended from December 31, 2021 to March 31, 2022. This 3 month extension should allow the time needed to make a clear path for Scouting and the United Methodist Church’s continued partnership.
Our Field Service team is ready to support you if you have any questions.
Thanks for all you do!
Atlanta Area Council, BSA
CC Unit Key 3s
Director of Field Service
Atlanta Area Council, BSA
October 6, 2021
Dear North Georgia United Methodists and Friends of Scouting,
Sometimes there is a need to change a practice to achieve desired results. Today, those working on the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy and to resolve more than 5,200 abuse claims since 1940 against United Methodist congregations are recommending a modification in how United Methodist congregations charter with Boy Scout troops and Cub packs.
Several months ago it was recommended that congregations pause the rechartering process and extend existing charters through the end of the year or use a facility use agreement. This has been a very helpful practice up until this time. We gained clarity about liability issues, resolved a couple of critical issues through the mediation process, and helped people working on resolution recognize how important United Methodists are in the healing of survivors and serving young people. The following is a joint statement of the Boy Scouts of America and United Methodist leadership working on resolving United Methodist claims.
“United Methodist leadership and the BSA have agreed to the following joint statement regarding the status of units chartered by United Methodist churches.
The Boy Scouts of America and United Methodist leadership continue to work together to resolve matters related to BSA’s financial restructuring and have agreed, in the best interest of the young people who participate in Scouting, to strongly recommend to United Methodist chartering organizations and Boy Scout Councils to extend existing charter agreements and facility use agreements in force at this time through March 31, 2022. There will be no additional fee required from those chartering organizations through March 31, 2022. This will pause new chartering, re-chartering, and the use of facility use agreements with United Methodist churches. This automatic extension will allow Boy Scouts of America, United Methodist leadership, and other parties in the bankruptcy case time to resolve important issues affecting chartered organizations, including a favorable release for chartered organizations for any Scout abuse claims.”
Congregations that charter Scouts are strongly encouraged to follow this process as it resolves confusion and helps us resolve our concerns in the mediation process. To be clear, this statement calls for the BSA and UM congregations to pause any rechartering conversations and use what is in place at this time. There is a team working on a new UM charter for Scouting ministries that may be used in the future.
The United Methodist Church has four goals to meet through the mediation process.
- The healing of survivors and commitment to how we will continue to work to end abuse. Our congregations and UMC leadership have and continue to make progress on ending abuse. Less than 1% of our cases occurred in the last 20 years. The other 99% occurred prior to 2000. While this is significant progress, we strive to work toward ending abuse.
- Gaining a release for all of the UM claims against our congregations that will prevent anyone from suing a congregation for a claim directly related to Boy Scout activity prior to 2020.
- Not using a congregation’s insurance to resolve any of the more than 5,200 UM claims.
- A financial settlement.
We want to assure you that our United Methodist chancellors and more than 200 United Methodist leaders are working on your behalf to reach these goals. In addition to pausing all rechartering through March of 2022 and continuing with the present charter or facilities use agreement, today we ask that you pray for the survivors’ healing. We also ask you to pray for those leading this effort. God has gifted us with compassion and wisdom to reach just settlements and faithfully steward the resources of The United Methodist Church.
Yours in Scouting and in Christ,
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson Chris Karabinos
UMC, North Georgia Conference Conference Scouting Coordinator