As circumstances regarding a proposed legal settlement by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) regarding ongoing litigation involving alleged sexual misconduct in scouting continue to evolve, Bishop Lowry issued the letter below to the clergy and Trustee chairs of the CTC directing all churches, faith communities and ministries of the Central Texas Conference to end all chartering agreements with the BSA by Dec. 31, 2021 and establish a Facility Use Agreement (FUA) if the church chooses to maintain their relationship with their BSA troop or pack(s). This direction is in no way intended to advocate or even suggest that any CTC churches should sever ties with the BSA, simply that the nature of the relationship must change to that of a Facility Use Agreement. Please read the full letter below or click here for a downloadable pdf for full details, including info on upcoming district meeting on the issue.
Churches to cease being Charter Organizations and enter into Facility Use Agreements effective Jan. 1, 2022.
Sept 15, 2021
Dear Friends, Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ.
Quite possibly you have heard about or read recent news reports regarding a proposed legal settlement by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in regard to ongoing litigation involving alleged sexual misconduct in scouting. In October of last year, the churches and clergy of the Central Texas Conference were sent an urgent email from Central Texas Conference Chancellor Wilson Woods related to the ongoing litigation against the Boy Scouts of America, the BSA’s bankruptcy process and its effect on those organizations that charter BSA troops or packs. A copy of that email is available here.
While Chancellor Woods’ email explained the situation and our options at the time, the situation has continued to evolve. As details emerge about a proposed settlement agreement in the BSA bankruptcy proceedings, it has become clear that the current chartering agreements between churches and troops or packs are not suitable to maintain a relationship with the BSA going forward.
Given the current situation, I’m directing all churches, faith communities and ministries of the Central Texas Conference to end all chartering agreements with the BSA by Dec. 31, 2021 and establish a Facility Use Agreement (FUA) if the church chooses to maintain their relationship with their BSA troop or pack(s). An example of a standard FUA is available here.
I issue this direction to move from a charter arrangement to a Facility Use Agreement with some deep anguish. In my years as a local pastor, the congregations that I have been blessed to serve have had charter arrangements with the Boy Scouts. Both as a pastor and as the proud father of an Eagle Scout, I have been personally involved in Boy Scouting. It is my strong hope that United Methodist Churches of the Central Texas Conference will continue to have a strong relationship with scouting. However, the nature of that relationship must change.
I wish to emphatically and clearly state that neither I, Chancellor Woods, the Cabinet nor any other representative of the Central Texas Conference is advocating or even suggesting that any of our churches sever ties with the BSA. As I previously indicated, I believe in the value of scouting. I am the proud father of an Eagle Scout. Our conference Chancellor and our Director of Communications & IT are Eagle Scouts. I know first-hand that our churches’ relationships with Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs are vital forms of community engagement and the wholesome development of young people. This is a connection that we very much hope to continue. However, we must change the nature of those relationships and no longer charter scout troops/packs and instead enter into Facility Use Agreements.
We have met with the Central Texas Core Team and the Conference Board of Trustees. The Conference Trustees have approved this recommendation and the Conference Core Team has added its endorsement of this action. We’ll be providing those churches who charter BSAs with more details, information and updates in the coming weeks. Also, Mr. Jeff Roper, Executive Director of the Roberts Center for Leadership & Administration, along with the District Superintendent for their respective districts, will be holding a series of meetings as soon as possible to discuss:
- more details about this ongoing BSA bankruptcy and what it means to the conference and local churches going forward;
- how to convert from a charter to a Facility Use Agreement;
- steps to take if you’ve already entered into a Charter that runs beyond Dec. 31, 2021; and
- more on how local churches should respond to this developing situation.
Please accept my gratitude (as well as the gratitude of other Conference leaders) in advance for you cooperation and support in this matter. Together we will do what is best for our communities and churches as we actively continue our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The teaching of the gospel will guide our steps to work towards healing and reconciliation. Remember the words of the Apostle Peter, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed.” (Acts 10:38)
Yours In Christ,
Bishop Mike Lowry
Resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference