In Support of Sexual Abuse Survivors and The Task Force

(This is the revised text of a resolution we will present at the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware on Monday, November 15th.)

Whereas, we affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Article XV which states in part, “All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society… We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick… In order to promote these ends, Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.”; and

Whereas, the messengers of the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville passed overwhelmingly the motion (see endnote for full text) creating a Task Force for the purpose of an independent investigation; and

Whereas our brothers and sisters who are survivors of sexual abuse should be heard, honored and cared for in a way that honors our Savior; therefore, be it

Resolved the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware at our 2021 annual meeting declare that we affirm the Sexual Abuse Task Force’s work for transparency regarding all matters of sexual abuse in our convention; and be it further

Resolved that the messengers of the 2021 Baptist Convention of Maryland/ Delaware annual meeting, call on our convention of churches to support victims of sexual abuse by exposing all forms of abuse through faithful teaching and preaching of God’s Word, by immediately and fully reporting every known case of sexual abuse to the proper civil authorities, removing from membership any church that knowingly perpetuates sexual abuse among its members or staff, and stand ready to offer holistic support to survivors of sexual abuse; and be it further

Resolved that the BCMD Executive Director, staff, General Mission Board members, Associational Missional Strategists/Directors of Mission serve and encourage willing pastors and autonomous churches to commit to implementing the Southern Baptist Caring Well Initiative (https://www.caringwell.com/) to the fullest extent possible. In addition to the common practice of background checks and child protection policies, this initiative will serve our affiliated churches in protecting our men, women and children from the trauma of sexual abuse wtihin the churches affiliated with the BCMD; and be it further

Resolved that the messengers of the 2021 BCMD Annual meeting request that the Affiliation Committee of the General Mission Board research the potential of requiring preventative measures like Caring Well Initiative, background checks and child protection policies for a church to be considered in good standing with the BCMD. This committee would report its findings to the Officers of the General Mission Board no later than 90 days prior to the 2022 BCMD Annual Meeting so that the Officers of the General Mission Board can immediately make this report public to all BCMD churches in good standing; and be it further

Resolved that the messengers of the 2021 BCMD Annual meeting request that the CFO of the BCMD research ways to provide funding to help cover the cost of background checks and other measures seeking to prevent sexual abuse from occuring within BCMD churches. This report would be submitted to the Officers of the General Mission Board no later than 90 days prior to the 2022 BCMD Annual Meeting so that the Officers of the General Mission Board can immediately make this report available to all BCMD churches in good standing.

Brad O’Brien

brad@jesusourredeemer.com

Jesus Our Redeemer Church Baltimore, MD

Keith Myer

Keith@harvestbc.com

Harvest Baptist Church Salisbury, MD

Chris Snider

chris@catonsvillebaptist.org

Catonsville Baptist Church Catonsville, MD

Chris McCombs

pastor@lpbconline.org

Lexington Park Baptist Church Lexington Park, MD

Brent Brewer

brent@fbclaurel.com

First Baptist Church Laurel, MD

Chul H Yoo

chulyoo@cccashton.org

Christ Community Church Ashton, MD

Russell Spikes

russspikes@verizon.net

Rolling Hills Baptist Church Clarksville, MD

Brian Sandifer

brian@phbc.com

Potomac Heights Baptist Church Indian Head, MD

Joseph (Jay) Jones

joseph@freedomchurchbaltimore.org

Freedom Church Windsor Mill Baltimore, MD

I move that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 15–16, 2021, in Nashville, TN, ask the newly elected president of the SBC to appoint a task force within 30 days of the date of this Convention that shall be comprised of members of Baptist churches cooperating with this Convention and experts in sexual abuse and the handling of sexual abuse-related dynamics. This task force shall either assume oversight of the third-party review announced previously by the Executive Committee or initiate a separate third-party review. Said task force shall ensure that the third-party review includes an investigation into any allegations of abuse, mishandling of abuse, mistreatment of victims, a pattern of intimidation of victims or advocates, and resistance to sexual abuse reform initiatives. The investigation shall include actions and decisions of staff and members of the Executive Committee from January 1, 2000 to June 14, 2021. This investigation should include an audit of the procedures and actions taken by the Credentials Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which was formed at the Convention meeting in Birmingham, AL, June 11–12, 2019. The review shall be funded by allocations from the Cooperative Program.

We further move that the task force agree to the accepted best-standards and practices as recommended by the commissioned third-party, including but not limited to the Executive Committee staff and members waiving attorney client privilege in order to ensure full access to information and accuracy in the review. A written report on the factual findings of this review shall be presented to the task force 30 days prior to the SBC Annual meeting in 2022, and made public in full form within one week of the Task Force’s receipt of the report along with suggestions from the task force for actions to be taken by our convention. (https://www.sataskforce.net/faqs)

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