Letter from Bishop and Scouting Coordinator: New United Methodist/BSA Affiliation Agreement



June 20, 2022
Dear North Georgia United Methodists & Friends of Scouting, 
We would like to provide an update on the long-awaited announcement of a new relationship agreement between The United Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts of America. As you may remember, the two organizations announced on December 23, 2021 that we will continue to partner with each other through at least 2036, and that one of the key next steps would be a new agreement that provides additional protection for our youth, scout leaders, and churches replacing the traditional BSA charter agreement. 

After months of negotiation between the United Methodist Relationship Committee and the Boy Scouts of America, a new “Affiliation Agreement” has been developed and approved by the UMC Leadership Committee, BSA, and General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM). The new agreement was announced on two webinars last week; one with church leaders on June 14th and the other with Scout leaders on June 16th. Many details were shared while many others are being finalized and will be shared over the coming weeks. A press release with high-level details was issued June 15th and can be read here
The agreement fulfills two important priorities for us: that Scouting ministry continues uninterrupted and that Scouting programs are offered with excellence. 

Additional highlights shared on the June 16th call include:
  • The new Affiliation Agreement will become available for United Methodist packs and troops to sign on July 1st.  Local BSA councils will reach out to their United Methodist units over the coming months in groups to sign the new agreement.
  • Units will have until October 31st to sign the new agreement.  This also means that your current 2022 BSA charter agreement has been extended through October 31st
  • The BSA Bankruptcy plan hasn’t yet been ruled on by the court, but is expected to be later this summer.  The Ad Hoc Committee and BSA believe that waiting for a court decision brings no additional benefit and that registering with the new agreement sooner gets us back to administering and growing the program sooner.
  • BSA units will have the option to recharter with other organizations (e.g. a Rotary Club) and continue recruiting and meeting at UM churches with a Facility Use Agreement. It is our recommendation however that units currently chartered by United Methodist Churches in the North Georgia Conference continue their relationship with their churches by signing an Affiliation Agreement as recommended by the UMC Relationship Committee.
  • Local BSA Councils will now own Scout units as part of the new agreement.  The support of the ministry within the unit still resides with the local church. Recruiting, meetings, program delivery, faith support and Scouting activities will continue as they have at the local church level. 
  • BSA insurance coverage has improved and stays in place, even in transition.    
There are plenty of other details to share and others that are still being worked out. Please stay tuned for additional information over the coming weeks. You can keep up by visiting the Conference BSA Update page (https://www.ngumc.org/bsa-updates) and by signing up for the UMCOS newsletter (chriskarabinos1@gmail.com).

We want to restate that Scouting is an important and vibrant Ministry of the church. We greatly appreciate everything you have done to support Scouting over the years and especially over the past year during this challenging time. It is our hope that as we emerge from this period, we grow the ministry of Scouting around the Conference. 

Please continue your planning for a strong fall Scouting program including meeting, recruiting, training and camping. If you are interested in starting a new pack or troop, please let Chris know. Meanwhile, we will work to keep you informed.
Yours in Scouting and in Christ,

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson                 Chris Karabinos                   
North Georgia Conference                      Conference Scouting Coordinator