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For survivors’ sake, pledge to the Repair the Harm Fund today

Posted: November 29 2023 at 11:46 AM
Author: by Rev. Victoria Rebeck, NIC Director of Communications


What would you give to keep a child safe?

What would you give to help the wounded heal?

Northern Illinois Conference’s Bishop Dan Schwerin asks churches to prayerfully consider these questions as they make a pledge to the conference’s Repair the Harm campaign. The campaign is raising $754,348 toward a survivors’ fund for those who endured abuse while participating in Boy Scout activities.

This is the conference’s fair share of the $30 million that The United Methodist Church will provide, as approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“We have heard the cries and painful stories of those abused while in the Boy Scout program, some in troops chartered at local NIC churches,” the NIC Council on Finance and Administration stated earlier this year when establishing the Repair the Harm campaign. “Our Christian faith calls us to have an obligation to children—past, present, and future—to do no harm to them and to repair the breach when harm is done.”

Amid mounting claims of Scouting-related sex abuse going back decades, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in February 2020. Many of the over 82,000 claims come from those who participated in BSA groups in churches, including UM congregations.

Make a pledge before the year’s end

It’s time for churches to submit their pledges and initial contributions to the Repair the Harm fund. Bishop Schwerin encourages churches to make their pledge as soon as possible. Contributions are payable over three years.

“We invite you to give because you can be a participant in the healing, as compassionate Christians. For many of these survivors, knowledge that the church is on the side of truth and wholeness matters,” says Bishop Dan Schwerin in a video invitation to Northern Illinois churches.

The Northern Illinois Conference’s Repair the Harm to Children campaign addresses the needs of the survivors in three ways: listening and providing healing to the survivors, contributing the conference’s fair share to the survivor fund, and strengthening safeguards against harm in the future.

How to make and fulfill a pledge

As compassionate Christians, churches and individuals can contribute to the Survivors’ Fund. In this way, we can participate in healing for those who have been abused.

Click here to make a pledge 

Submit payments:

There are multiple options for making payments. All are explained more here.

  • Use the Tithe.ly online payment system. Choose the Boy Scout Survivor Fund in the drop down menu.
  • The church can remit payments through the NIC apportionment payment system, Prosper. Under the apportionments tab, "add a line", enter in fund "501", and choose project "BSA - Repair the harm: BSA Settlement."
  • Checks may also be mailed to the NIC office.

How to participate

Churches that have not yet made a pledge might consider committing 1 percent of the church’s annual budget to the healing fund. This is a start, not a limit; churches and individuals can give more, as their hearts lead.

Individuals can pledge and give this to work as well. Pastors and church leaders can invite members who have a heart for children to make a pledge—and make a difference.

The conference has received contributions and pledges from 29 churches and several individuals. Pledges made so far come to $135,988. This is 17 percent of the conference goal.

Churches also can review their Safe Sanctuaries policies, make them even stronger, and recommit to them.

“This is our chance to commit to a deeper safe sanctuaries policy and protections to protect children and vulnerable adults at all times and under all circumstances,” Bishop Schwerin says.

Bishop Schwerin also promises to meet with any survivor in our conference who would find such a meeting helpful.

Scouting ministries continue

“Let’s remember that we can still provide a discipleship formation for young people through scouting,” Bishop Schwerin says. “Scouting is an important ministry and has many opportunities for discipleship.”

Churches are urged to ask Boy Scout groups that meet in their facilities to enter into an affiliation agreement approved by the UMC. (Find a link to this agreement here.) 

More information about the Boy Scouts and how churches can renew strong and accountable relationships with them will be provided soon through NIC media. Watch for announcements.

Learn more about the Repair the Harm Campaign

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