BSA Bankruptcy Impact on United Methodist Congregations in Missouri
The press release linked below was issued by the General Council on Finance & Administration (GCFA) and United Methodist Communications yesterday, August 25. Many clergy had already seen the contents in other sources and have begun inquiring about it with Conference staff.
To respond to the most general question: yes, the Missouri Annual Conference’s Office of Finance & Administrative Ministries, Director of Finance & Administrative Ministries, Rev. Nate Berneking, and the Conference Chancellor, Jordan Ault, recommend following the advice of GCFA and the named “ad hoc committee” that was tasked with representing and protecting the interests of United Methodist entities in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Boy Scouts of America.
To summarize, this means that local churches with current chartering agreements for Boy Scout Troops of any sort (i.e., Boy Scout, Cub Scout or Explorer Troops) should begin a conversation with troop leaders about ending the chartering agreement no later than December 31, 2021. Troops may continue utilizing the church’s building under a Facilities Use Agreement that clearly requires adequate insurance and does everything possible to insulate the local church from liabilities.
Does this mean the United Methodist Church is ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America?
No. In fact, Conference staff has been discussing this sort of guidance for some time and delayed issuing it in hopes that it could be avoided. Even the strictest interpretation of GCFA’s guidance suggests termination dates of December 31 so that any relationship can be re-evaluated in December. Certain terms of settlement may well lead to a lifting of the instruction to end chartering agreements. And, at least for now, churches may allow Troops to utilize their building through a Facilities Use Agreement. Church members may, of course, continue their own individual relationships with Troops.
Do you have a template for a Facilities Use Agreement?
Yes. If you have questions about the local church’s relationship with a Troop or need assistance generating an agreement for a self-chartering Troop or one chartered by another organization, simply contact Rev. Nate Berneking at firstname.lastname@example.org. That said, the Conference generally cannot provide legal advice to Troops seeking other chartering options.
GCFA Press Release (8/25/21): https://www.umc.org/en/content/bsa-bankruptcy-affects-united-methodist-congregations