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Repair the Harm to Children Campaign Launched

Posted: April 25 2023 at 03:12 PM
Author: Lisa Smith, NIC Communications Specialist


The Boy Scouts of America recently settled a lawsuit related to accusations of sexual abuse of children. The United Methodist Church—one of the parties in the suit—is committed to caring for the children who were harmed and to preventing abuse in the future.

“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,” says Rev. Tammy Scott, president of the Northern Illinois Conference Council on Finance and Administration, in a letter to NIC congregations.

As part of the settlement, the United Methodist Church has agreed to raise and give $30 million over a three-year period to a fund to compensate survivors. The church also agreed to work for the healing of survivors and recommit to work toward ending sexual abuse of young people.

The NIC will care for the survivors financially by contributing $754,348, its fair share, to the fund. The Northern Illinois Conference Trustees and Council on Finance and Administration, in collaboration with Bishop Dan Schwerin and the conference staff, created the Repair the Harm to Children Campaign to respond to the victims’ needs.

The campaign will address the needs of the survivors in three ways: listening and providing healing to the survivors, contributing our fair share to the survivor fund established by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and working to create safeguards against harm in the future.

The Repair the Harm to Children committee seeks pledges from churches and individuals to fund restorative healing for the survivors.

“When we baptize, we commit to do ‘all in our power’ to nurture the baptized. Let’s do all in our power to create safe spaces for children and vulnerable adults,” Bishop Schwerin commented.

The committee intends that every church will contribute and repair past harm as quickly as possible. They recommend that churches’ administrative councils discuss their pledge decision with input from their finance committee and/or the church’s Scouting liaisons. All pledges are welcome and meaningful to the healing of victims of sexual abuse.

“Let’s do all in our power to offer healing love and justice for those whose lives are changed by abuse,” Bishop Schwerin asks. “Thank you for being the generous people of God.”

The committee urges churches and individuals to consider prayerfully their commitment during April and May. The first goal is to receive initial pledges by the start of Annual Conference this June. Payments towards pledges may start this fall. Churches or individuals can make a pledge or payment online.

All children in the care of the United Methodist churches should be safe from any kind of harm, committee leaders say.

“Unless repairs are made to children who have been hurt, we are not being honest with the present and future children God brings us,” says Rev. Scott. “We are speaking to every United Methodist in the NIC when we ask for your participation in repairing the damage done to the
children of formerly chartered BSA troops and creating safe spaces for the future.”

The committee also plans to offer care to the survivors by listening to their stories. “If anyone wants to report their pain to a bishop, I am ready to do what is helpful for healing,” offered Bishop Schwerin. “We have much to make up for.” If you or someone you know wants to share their story, please contact the committee at repairtheharm@umcnic.org. All stories will be held with respect, safety, and confidentiality.

To safeguard against any future harm, all NIC churches have committed to having Safe Sanctuary policies administered by their church leaders and appointed clergy. Safe Sanctuaries is an overt expression in making congregations safe places for all within the community of faith. More information on Safe Sanctuaries can be found here.

Visit the Repair the Harm Campaign page

Make a Repair the Harm Pledge

Make a Repair the Harm Donation

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