NASHVILLE (BP) – African American, Asian and Hispanic Southern Baptist leaders have responded to the Guidepost Solutions report of the Southern Baptist Convention’s handling of sexual abuse complaints spanning two decades.
Frank Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC (NAAF) shared with Baptist Press a letter written on behalf of NAAF executive officers, its executive board and the approximately 4,000 African American Southern Baptist churches it serves.
“It is extremely disturbing and deeply saddening to learn that sexual abuse allegations were not appropriately addressed by the Executive Committee (EC) and other SBC agency leaders, who should have been more compassionate and empathetic to the victims of such acts and their resulting traumas,” Williams stated in the letter. “As a Fellowship, our heart and prayers go out to all of the survivors of sexual abuse.”
Williams expressed gratitude to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting messengers, the Sexual Abuse Task Force, SBC Executive Committee CEO Willie McLaurin, Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade and EC trustees for their work “during this unprecedented time of reckoning within the SBC.”
Williams described the report as a “clarion call” for churches to enact policies and practices to protect against and respond to allegations of abuse. Specifically, he encouraged African American pastors to pray for survivors, Southern Baptist churches and the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting; to actively engage in Southern Baptist life at all levels, and to promote “the value of collaborative fellowship, shared ownership, and cooperative stewardship that brings out the best in SBC Life.”
“It is our hope that as the messengers meet in a couple of weeks and seek to address the recommendations presented in the report,” Williams said, “that healing will begin, continue, or be experienced by survivors, churches, our agencies, and our denomination as a whole.”
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Source: Baptist Press