Oct. 29, 2021
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This update is being shared with all pastors serving local churches within the New England Conference to ensure it reaches every local church that might receive a Boy Scouts (BSA) Bankruptcy Disclosure Statement Package. If your church does not receive a packet, you can safely ignore this update.
If you do receive a packet, the following information will be important, please read through it, but do not take any action at this time.
Presently, congregations that filed a proof of claim have the option to vote on the proposed BSA bankruptcy plan. The BSA is required to send to all present and past congregations who chartered a Scout Troop a packet of information about this bankruptcy plan. There are also organizations trying to influence congregations’ votes that may be sending information as well, so you may have already received or can expect one or more packets in the mail about this.
About the Disclosure Statement Package
The BSA Disclosure Statement Package is intended to summarize how the BSA’s proposed plan of reorganization will affect the legal rights of chartered organizations with respect to Scouting-related sexual abuse claims potentially connected to chartered organizations.
The Package will include the following:
- A “plain language” summary of the Disclosure Statement drafted specifically for chartered organizations;
- An “opt out” form relating to options all chartered organizations have as to how sexual abuse claims against each chartered organization will be dealt with. THIS SHOULD NOT BE FILLED OUT BY A LOCAL CHURCH UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE (more information on this will be provided in the next two weeks); and
- A ballot for casting a vote for or against the plan (only local churches that filed a timely “proof of claim” with the bankruptcy court will receive a ballot; other chartered organizations will only receive the rest of the contents). THIS SHOULD NOT BE FILLED OUT AT THIS TIME (more information on this will be provided in the next two weeks).
The United Methodist Ad Hoc Committee is developing recommendations for local churches on how to complete the ballot, which will be shared as soon as they are complete (and well before the voting deadline of December 14, 2021).
Local churches will also be provided with a summary of the most important aspects of the plan. Additionally, information sessions for district superintendents, as well as webinars for church leaders about how to complete the form, why the vote matters, and how the outcome may affect our congregations, will be provided.
We also take this opportunity to remind you that all chartering and facility use agreements are paused. There is a team of people working on the relationship agreements with Scouting so that they will better serve congregations and reduce potential liability in the future. Any work on chartering now creates a disruption that is not helpful in moving the parties forward.
If you or your congregational leadership is approached by a BSA Council representative about re-chartering, simply say that the BSA and The UMC have an agreement to pause all chartering until after the bankruptcy is resolved.
We have set up a page on our website (www.neumc.org/BSA) with information about the BSA bankruptcy proceeding. This page includes a form for submitting any questions/comments you have about the process.
In Christ's love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar