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Methodist Church telling Churches to Not "Recharter" Scout Units


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Here in Arkansas the Bishop has sent a letter telling all Methodist Churches to NOT sign a new Charter Agreement after 12/31/2021, but instead to go to a Facility Use Agreement between the Church, the Troop and the Council. Scout Units will now become a group that meets at the Church instead of a part of the church and the church basically has no connection to the Troop.  This agreement has to be formally signed by all parties.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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If a UMC is switching to a Facilities Use Agreement only relationship, then the unit will need a new Chartering Organization, such as a VFW or your Local Council.

I have been hearing of councils that don't want to serve as the chartering org as well. That's something for BSA to resolve though in its reorg plan I would think. 

Ours has already informed us that we will move to the facilities model.  Other than that, they assure us that they still consider us part of their ministry, just under a different format.  Since we ha

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We've been discussing this somewhere else, too, although I can't remember where. Our state conference is telling Methodist churches not to charter or recharter prior to Dec. 31 as they are investigating what to do. It appears they will simply shift to the facilities use agreement although I found it interesting that the wording seems to have changed slightly over the past few weeks. Instead of saying sign the facilities agreement instead of recharter, they now seem to be saying don't do anything at all just yet.

 

 

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The mailing I saw today included a draft Facility Use Agreement laying out the responsibilities or lack of of the Church, Troop and Council and it had places for signatures from each party.  I'll have to take another look at it tomorrow to see if it said it was required.  Depending on how a church's Board of Trustees feels regarding this, I could see where a church could really restrict a Troop and what it does with the church and it's facilities/vehicles.  It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.   My church hasn't had any Scouting Units since 2006 but I am still a ASM,  glad I am no longer a SM,  with a Troop sponsored by a Methodist Church so it will be interesting to see what they do.

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44 minutes ago, Eagle69 said:

The mailing I saw today included a draft Facility Use Agreement laying out the responsibilities or lack of of the Church, Troop and Council and it had places for signatures from each party.  I'll have to take another look at it tomorrow to see if it said it was required.  Depending on how a church's Board of Trustees feels regarding this, I could see where a church could really restrict a Troop and what it does with the church and it's facilities/vehicles.  It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.   My church hasn't had any Scouting Units since 2006 but I am still a ASM,  glad I am no longer a SM,  with a Troop sponsored by a Methodist Church so it will be interesting to see what they do.

Pretty much all the churches are doing this. For units that had a very close relationship with a sponsoring chartered org, it will be more difficult, but the reality for many is that this facilities use agreement will simply formalize the already existing status quo. Many COs, if not most, merely provide space and benign support. If you've had more, you've been very lucky and I'm sad for you. For most of us, it's a yawn. 

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

For most of us, it's a yawn. 

Absolutely agree.   Fixing the agreements will have little to no impact on the the units.  

This is about correcting misleading agreements.   Words matter.  Written agreements matter.  For most charters, no one expected the words to be 100% followed thru.  Not the unit leaders.  Not the council.  Not the charter org.   Parents were oblivious to the words.  ...  The old charter agreement was more about soliciting discussion and making everyone feel good.  Now in hind sight, these words are being used to infer more responsibility than ever existed.  

Words matter.  It's time to make the charter org agreements reflect reality.  

Perhaps, we should not have a choice between charter org agreement and facility use.  Rather it should be a selected list of needs with check-boxes on who will fulfill the role.  

  • [council]  [charter]   * Select unit leadership.  
  • [council]  [charter]   * Oversee training requirements.  Encourage unit leaders to be trained.  
  •                   [charter]   * Provide storage space for unit materials
  •                   [charter]   * Provide space for meetings
  • [council]  [charter]   * Review unit program planning (camping, activities, etc)

Each agreement could be personalized to the charter.   It would also be clear who is expected to do what.  

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35 minutes ago, SSScout said:

Is this somehow appropriate to the discussion? Or is all this "local"?

""The United Methodist Church is not leaving Scouting. We are still working with BSA in the bankruptcy. ""
 
 

I think this ultimately is local, but that the strong undercurrent is that many/most Methodist churches will end their CO relationship and simply switch to a facilities us only.

That also means Councils will be taking on the burden of functioning as COs for a lot of units at a time when they are losing staff. I don't know how this works out long term

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12 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

....  That also means Councils will be taking on the burden of functioning as COs ...

... OR ... we end up having many "Parents Of" COs. 

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3 hours ago, fred8033 said:

... OR ... we end up having many "Parents Of" COs. 

I'm not clear how insurance will play into that. If BSA is still able to provide insurance and it is affordable and adequate, perhaps a parent CO group wouldn't need additional liability insurance? However if something happens you know the Parents Of CO would be named in any lawsuit. Would you gamble your house on BSA at this point? There are insurers who work just with people who start up sports teams but I'm not aware of any entity that does that with scouting. 

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I'm not sure of legalistics.  I'm just suspecting that some will change to "Parents Of" instead of establishing "Facility Use" agreements and a council charter.

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12 hours ago, fred8033 said:

... OR ... we end up having many "Parents Of" COs. 

Heavens.  Would I, as a parent want to take on liability the likes of which the BSA with its millions can't cover? I know the parents in my unit.  I see them for an hour and a half once a week.  Around a table, and sometimes at a weekend campout, but other than that? And I am to bet the farm on that slim knowledge base?  Do I need to go into the insurance market and procure a policy for myself?  That's crazy.    Parents won't do that. Now that the BSA has shown us the nightmare of this all.

The best thing a lawyer can do is keep their client away from the courthouse.  And just behind that, avoid any need to TALK about anything.  (Even if you win, or it all goes away quietly.) Talk is NOT cheap.

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And the problem of a "Parents of" organization is that you are potentially liable even if you are NOT on the campout where an alleged incident occurs.  As a principal in the sponsoring organization, not incorporated or having some other liability shield aspect, even 1,000 miles away on a business trip, you are potentially liable, and a Defendant.

Lawyers "leave no stone unturned."  Everyone gets named as a Defendant-"Let the Judge sort it out."

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I don't think that a facilities use agreement is likely to fully protect the former CO, now landlord.  The former CO's should insist on the Council indemnifying the former CO from all losses and attorney's fees, and providing proof of insurance coverage.  Standard stuff in the legal world.

In the past, this was of little concern as the CO's did not know of the silent avalanche of claims building and roaring down upon them.

In its own way the silence of BSA toward the CO's is financial abuse.  The CO's wracking up year after year of sponsorship (liability exposure) blissfully ignorant of BSA's knowledge of a huge financial threat. Reassured by BSA's lack of panic.

 

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