Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Conference leaders pass BSA plan with unanimous vote

2/7/2022

Leaders of the Oklahoma Conference met on Jan. 13 to discuss and vote on a response to the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy plan for reorganization. The plan includes a $30 million contribution from the United Methodist Church into a $3 billion Survivor Trust Fund; the Oklahoma Conference was asked to contribute $910,420. The extended cabinet passed a unanimous vote to pay the total in full using invested funds managed by the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation. The move ensures the contribution will be paid without passing the cost to local churches.

The conference sent an email to ministry leaders detailing the context of the bankruptcy, how the requested contribution was calculated, where the contribution will come from in the conference budget, and additional steps to address current and future safe sanctuary practices. The email included two documents describing the decision-making process and how next steps would take place. The details are available on the conference website at https://www.okumc.org/scouting-charter.

United Methodists participated in the bankruptcy mediation process with five goals.

  • Healing and support for survivors
  • Releases from claims related to sexual abuse for United Methodist congregations that chartered Boy Scout troops and Cub packs
  • Releases for all charter organizations
  • Preservation of congregations’ and annual conferences’ insurance
  • A fair and just financial settlement
In addition to a financial contribution, United Methodists are committing to the following:
  • Train leaders to meet with and hear the experience and hopes of any survivor who participated in Scouting activities connected with a United Methodist congregation.
  • Review all Safe Sanctuaries/Ministry Safe policies and update as necessary.
  • Develop a series of articles about how to ensure safe youth programing.
  • Participate in a survivors’ justice and healing working group formed by survivors who filed claims.
Each annual conference is now being asked to commit to follow-through with the United Methodist commitments listed above by agreeing to the following:
  • Identify leaders who are willing to be trained and listen to survivors’ experiences.
  • Review all Safe Sanctuaries/Ministry Safe policies of congregations and the conference to ensure they are up-to-date and are being followed.
  • Re-publish the series of articles about child sexual abuse.
  • Contribute funds for the Survivors Trust Fund.

The conference plans to operate in the most transparent manner possible and to keep its members up to date as the situation warrants. Questions not addressed in the resources provided by the conference should be directed to scouts@okumc.org.

 

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