The Credentials Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention held its initial meeting July 22 by video conferencing, electing Stacey Bramlett of Tennessee as its chair.
The nine-member Credentials Committee was repurposed during the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting into a standing committee to make inquiries and recommendations for action regarding instances of sexual abuse, racism or other issues that call a church’s relationship with the SBC into question.
Bramlett, senior vice president of Independent Bank in Collierville, Tenn., has been a member of the SBC Executive Committee since 2016, serving as the EC’s secretary from 2017-2019.
Bramlett is one of three members nominated by the Executive Committee. The Credentials Committee also includes the SBC’s registration secretary, the EC chairman and four members nominated by the Committee on Nominations. The nominations were approved by messengers June 11 in Birmingham, Ala.
In written comments to Baptist Press, Bramlett said, “I am humbled at being selected and I am approaching the role with much prayer and total dependency on the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”
She voiced gratitude “for a strong committee with a wide range of experiences in Southern Baptist life. We covet the prayers of fellow Baptists as the committee begins to chart a plan of action in preparation for dealing with any matters forwarded from the [EC] Bylaws Workgroup or other sources” in the days ahead.
In their bylaws vote, messengers in June repurposed the former Credentials Committee and created a new Registration Committee that will continue to be appointed by the SBC president for each annual meeting for the registration process of messengers.
In addition to Bramlett, the new Credentials Committee members named by the Executive Committee are Linda Cooper of Bowling Green, Ky., national president of WMU, and Mike Lawson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas.
Named by the Committee on Nominations were Jimmy Draper of Colleyville, Texas, a former SBC president and president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources; Cheryl Rice, a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla.; Roger Spradlin, co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., and a former EC chairman; and Greg Fields, lead pastor of Nellis Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
The SBC registration secretary serving on the Credentials Committee is Kathy Litton, director of planter spouse development for the North American Mission Board; the EC chairman is Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga.
The repurposing of the Credentials Committee was one of two key actions by messengers addressing the issues of sexual abuse and racism. An amendment to the SBC constitution also was approved to specify sexual abuse and racism as grounds for declaring a church as “not in friendly cooperation.” The bylaws required a single two-thirds vote; the constitutional amendment will require a second two-thirds vote during the SBC’s 2020 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Further details follow about the Credentials Committee members. Once implemented, the nominated members will serve three-year rotating terms. The initial committee, however, has staggered one-, two- and three-year terms.
Bramlett is a member of Collierville First Baptist Church, where she has served on the finance committee, personnel committee, building finance committee, worship team and choir. She and her husband Andy teach an adult Bible fellowship class and a divorce recovery class.
As a senior vice president at Independent Bank, Bramlett manages the mortgage division and has more than 30 years’ experience in mortgage banking.
The Bramletts are lifelong Memphians with a son in law school and another son in high school.
Term of service: 2019-2022
Cooper is the 23rd president of national Woman’s Missionary Union, the first Kentuckian elected to the post, and is an ex officio member of the SBC Executive Committee.
She and her husband Jim are members of Forest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky., where she is a member of Women on Mission and has participated in various church-wide and domestic missions opportunities as well as outreach in Indonesia, Russia, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, Malawi, Jamaica and Ecuador.
She also serves as WMU director and chairperson of the Warren Association of Baptists’ missions committee and is a member of its administration committee.
As a dental hygienist, she has ministered to others through a 40-year career in the same office in Smiths Grove, Ky. The Coopers have an adult son and daughter, two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Lawson, who has served on various committees at the national, state and associational levels, is in his 20th year at First Baptist in Sherman and has been a member of the SBC Executive Committee since 2012.
He has been in the pastorate since 1985, serving in Sherman and two other north Texas churches, entering the ministry in 1981 as a youth minister. He holds M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
Lawson and his wife Kim have been married 29 years and have two young adult sons.
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Source: Baptist Press