This page is dedicated to helping Conferences and Conference Leaders with the questions of the local church and community.
Latest Update: Dec. 14, 2022
Our relationship with the BSA moving forward is based upon two key goals: protect and support youth and keep the church safe to minister.
A UMC Relationship Committee worked with BSA to develop paths to serve to meet both. Legal, insurance, and ministry members worked on the team.
These are the only Two Paths: The Affiliation Agreement or the Facilities Use Agreement.
The Facilities Use Agreement legally separates the church from the Scout community. There is no church or United Methodist obligation beyond sharing space. It is an agreement to allow the house of God to be used in the community. Any individuals that participate are individuals acting on their calling in faith.
The Affiliation Agreement was updated in August.
The three changes within the Updated Affiliation Agreement are:
- The church keeps the physical assets (tents, trailers, Dutch ovens, etc.).
- And insures those assets on the property insurance. The Scouts may be asked to provide the funding for the insurance rider as the church sees fit.
- The Background check language was brought into alignment with the BSA Settlement requirements and the actual process. Local Councils “submit” the background check much like conferences submit data to Trak-1. Neither a Conference nor a Council actually “conduct” the criminal background check. All background checks are required to be completed and reviewed prior to participation. The background checks will be renewed at a minimum every TWO years (per the bankruptcy settlement plan) with the goal to get close to a near real-time system.
A key to the affiliation relationship is the church’s commitment to ministry. The church commits to opportunities for prayer, financial gifts, volunteer service, Scout Sunday, providing opportunities for Scouts to participate in the Church’s youth programs, and promoting religious awards. No other document in the history of BSA has committed an affiliate to a ministry like this.
Many councils have found the Updated Affiliation Agreement as a beneficial model to move forward. While a few remaining Councils are still struggling. With either the Affiliation Agreement or the Facility Use Agreement, the church is free to serve safely and faithfully. If your conference is in an area where these remaining BSA councils are unwilling to accept the Updated Affiliation Agreement, please contact us at GCUMM. We can help you navigate a path forward.
Time to get things done: All agreements have been extended nationally to Dec. 31, 2022. Taking consideration and prayer will help as we continue to work in relationships.
Interim Agreement: Through GCUMM, an interim agreement was signed that extends all insurance and indemnification protections as we get churches moved into the two agreements below. The insurance cycle runs through March 2023. We want to get everything completed by Dec. 31, to allow for the inevitable problem spots to be fixed before the cycle ends.
The Affiliation Agreement provides insurance, indemnification, and legal separation. The two key ownership standards are held at the local BSA Council. These are the EIN used by the local Scouts and adult leadership approval.
The local church actively supports the community through Scout Sunday Worship, teaching religious emblems classes (P.R.A.Y.), communication, space, storage, and ownership of the equipment.
Facilities Use Agreement
The Facilities Use Agreement provides insurance, indemnification, and legal separation. The same key items are held outside the church. In the Facilities Use Agreement, there is flexibility in who provides the EIN and adult approval. The local unit will need to find a formal owner who provides these.
The church supports the faith of the Scouting community. It also provides physical space and storage. The church continues to serve the community.
Challenges to Understand
The church needs a safe place to support Scouting. The two agreements above provide that safe space and a long-term relationship. Scouting has a robust Youth Protection Program that teaches, vets, and tracks volunteers. It is constantly undergoing review and updates as awareness grows. GCUMM partners with experts in the field of child protection to support positive advancements to a safer program.
The local church or conference may not have a choice. There are insurance companies who have chosen to reject the Affiliation Agreement as well as the traditional charter agreement. This leaves the church with one option for staying engaged in Scouting ministries – the Facilities Use Agreement. As the bankruptcy process continues through distribution, the expectation is the traditional charter will not be an option. The local church insurance is required to be able to cover all of its ministries.
The connectional system does afford churches choice. The General Commission on United Methodist Men is strongly advising all churches to follow one of the two paths above. We support conferences in their specific direction if given. Either of the agreements outlined is a legal contract. The highest obligation and risk for a local church is pursuing a traditional charter, which is not one of the negotiated paths forward. A church should not take on additional risk when being in ministry does not require it. This message is clearly communicated. A copy of the standard response to the charter question is available.
This is about supporting churches in ministry locally. The GCUMM has the obligation to meet the settlement requirements but much more the call to bring youth to Christ in the communities. We will always in all ways work with you for the call of the church in Christ.
We speak Methodist and Scouting. If you are having local or Council wide challenges, we can help translate the needs.
If you have additional questions, specific councils which need work, or congregations which need support, please let me know. SScheid@cumm.org
A Few FACTS to Think About
- The current GCF&A Guidelines are located here: Minimum Insurance Requirements (please note: the BSA insurance provides a heavy excess of the GCF&A requirements on a non-contributory, first dollar basis – you do not have to pay in to be covered and can receive a COI for your church as a named insured regardless of the document used for relationship: $7.5 million per incident and $23.5 million aggregate annual)
- Boy Scouts of America has served over 130 million youth with hundreds of thousands of them within the United Methodist Church in just the last two decades. Many are called to serve Christ in this ministry. Scouting is called out in the Book of Discipline.
- 1969, Vincent De Francis published the results of his groundbreaking study which looked at 250 sexual abuse cases in Brooklyn, becoming the first to recognize the extent of this form of child maltreatment and point out society’s failure to recognize and address it.
- 1974 The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was enacted. It set the first federal definition for child abuse and neglect within the United States.
- 1984, The Boy Scouts of America’s formal Youth Protection Program began. It has always been free and open to the public. Take the Training.
- 1984-2022, The BSA Youth Protection Program undergoes updates annually.
- 1998, The first publication of Safe Sanctuaries happened.
- June 15, 2007, The CDC sets the standard for Youth-serving Organizations with its publication “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-Serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures.” [I still highly recommend churches who care to start on page 40 and use the planning tool.]
- A note of reality from the publication: “Criminal background checks are an important tool in screening and selection. However, they have limitations. Criminal background checks will not identify most sexual offenders because most have not been caught. When this report was published, an efficient, effective, and affordable national background screening system was not available.”
- Our Methodist historical service needs to be understood in context as well as that of the BSA. When the CDC published a disclaimer about background checks in 2007, remember the church had served youth since 1784 both within and without Scouting (founded 1908).
- 2022, The new SafeR Sanctuaries is presented for the first time. in October 2022. Take the training.
- The United Methodist Church has tasked GCSRW with evaluating the problem of sexual misconduct in the United Methodist Church. Their work is faithful and solid. It also leaves us with a mirror. Sexual Misconduct in The United Methodist Church: US Update