FBC Murray Statement | Regarding SBC Sexual Abuse Investigation
On May 22, the SBC task force (overseeing an independent review of the SBC Executive Committee over allegations of mishandling reports of sexual abuse), released a 288-page report. The report, that can be found here, outlines the Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse cases between 2000 and mid-2021. The independent investigation was conducted by Guidepost Solutions.
The details revealed in the report are heartbreaking and unacceptable. As a cooperating member of the Southern Baptist Convention, FBC Murray places a high level of trust that the SBC leadership will operate with integrity and transparency. They did not.
We are deeply saddened by the findings. First and foremost, we grieve for the individuals who have experienced abuse and are heartbroken that the courage they showed in reporting their experience was mishandled, covered up, and ignored. This is unacceptable.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at the SBC Annual Meeting, messengers adopted the two recommendations presented by the Sexual Abuse Task Force.
The first recommendation stated that the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF) would operate in accordance with “best practices in keeping with Southern Baptist church polity” rather than through recommendations provided by Guidepost Solutions.
The second recommendation was to create the “Ministry Check” website which will be “established and maintained by an independent contractor, with the ARITF to oversee and report back to the convention on feasibility, effectiveness, and costs.” Names listed on the website will be people who have been “credibly accused,” according to the recommendation. You can read the entire article concerning the recommendations here.
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention adopted one resolution calling for a higher standard for pastoral leaders and another denouncing and asking for forgiveness for prioritizing the reputation of the Southern Baptist Convention over adequately caring for victims of sexual abuse and holding perpetrators accountable in churches and institutions for their actions. You can read the resolutions presented at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting here.
The leadership of FBC Murray will continue to monitor and consider the steps being taken by the SBC and the Kentucky Baptist Convention to help churches protect and provide care for their families. We will continue to implement policies and procedures that meet the highest standards. As of this week, our church will begin a partnership with Ministry Safe (a third-party organization independent of the SBC) to strengthen our screening and hiring processes and provide more extensive training for staff and volunteers. The spiritual formation, health and safety of our families is a sacred responsibility and our highest priority. Our church will always put the well-being of our families first.
A hotline has been created so that survivors can submit allegations of abuse and get information about options for care. Victims will also be put in touch with an advocate. The hotline can be reached at 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com.
Please continue to pray that God will be glorified in what we say and what we do in response to these matters and that our convention of churches can be a place of hope and a safe haven for the sake of the Gospel.
Jason Ellerbrook, Executive Pastor
Ken Asher, Chairman of the Deacons