Our church Trustees met in December at the request of the Conference and already voted on this issue. Why did the Conference Core Team, CF&A and Trustees call a vote on a local church issue?
The action taken by the churches in December 2021 was to vote on the proposed bankruptcy plan in total, including the proposed settlement. That vote was and is important as it signals to the court that the chartering organizations (UMC local churches) support the plan. The action in January by the Conference Trustees, CF&A and Core Team was to approve the Conference's participation in the proposed $30 million settlement, which is part of the bankruptcy plan. That vote was and is important because those bodies can authorize the use of Conference funds to provide for our portion of the $30 million settlement. Also, that vote (along with the vote of the other U.S. conferences) signals to the court that the UMC is ready to fund the settlement if approved as part of the bankruptcy plan.
Why did we not call a Special Annual Conference to determine how the Conference would pay its portion of the $30 million settlement to the Survivors Trust Fund?
The Conference Trustees, Council on Finance and Administration and the Core Team have the authority to act as necessary to safeguard and protect the rights and interests of the Annual Conference in all matters relating to property without convening a Special Annual Conference (Book of Discipline, ¶2512.4).
How was the amount of the Central Texas Conference’s portion of the $30 million settlement - $208,096– determined?
Each Annual Conference’s contribution is based on the number of sexual abuse claims that took place prior to Jan. 1, 1976 that are associated with the churches of its conference.
Does this end this matter for the local churches, our conference and/or the UMC once we pay our portion of the settlement?
The $30 million payment to the Survivor Settlement Fund is part of the UMC commitment in the bankruptcy process. Once the settlement is accepted as part of the bankruptcy plan, the bankruptcy plan is approved by the court, and the $30 million is fully funded, we can expect that the matter will be resolved.
Once the settlement is approved by the bankruptcy court, can the churches in the Central Texas Conference start chartering BSA troops and packs again?
No. Conference policy, as approved by the Trustees, prohibits chartering by Conference churches – only Facilities Use Agreements are allowed. Conference Trustees review all policies and can consider whether to modify this policy.