Responding to the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force Report
Hi AABC Family,
Sadly, there are devastating things that have taken place since we last met corporately for worship on Sunday. On Tuesday, there was a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which has taken the lives of 19 children and two teachers. May we continually be in prayer for everyone in that community and our nation as we grapple with grief over this senseless violence.
There was also another grievous news story that surfaced on Sunday: An independent investigation firm commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) released its Sexual Abuse Task Force Report. Guidepost Solutions led the months-long independent investigation into how the SBC leadership mishandled abuse allegations by its Executive Committee (EC) members as well as the mistreatment of sexual abuse victims by EC members and more. This report is deeply disturbing and shows deplorable behavior and actions such as intentional cover-up of abuse, shaming of victims and allowance of pastors who abused their flock to continue to serve other churches without repercussion.
There are important things we can do right now as a church family:
- Pray for those impacted by abuse. Pray for God’s healing to be upon them and their families as they have suffered much from the trauma and injustice done to them for so many years. Pray that God will vindicate them in His perfect timing and way. Pray that they still see His grace and love and be able to turn what others have meant for evil into good for others and for His glory.
- Pray for the SBC leadership that they will respond humbly and contritely to the report and that they will make the needed changes to protect church families from abusers. Pray that they will have wisdom and impartiality in dealing with allegations of abuse and that they will be compassionate and grace-filled to the victims and families of those abused. Pray that their bottom line is not to protect the monetary assets of the SBC denomination but to protect the flocks from within and from without.
- Pray for the AABC family that we continue to be vigilant against sexual abuse and abuse of any kind from within and without. Pray for us to be sensitive and intentional to help those who hurt to find the healing that they need from God and for the courage to take the appropriate steps such as reporting, counseling and being in community.
As a church, we continue to be proactive in requiring all volunteers who serve children and youth to undergo yearly Ministry Safe certification and yearly background checking for all pastoral staff members and volunteers in children and youth ministries, following protocols that provide accountability and visibility, even as we look for opportunities to strengthen efforts wherever possible. AABC will comply with the legal requirement of reporting abuse to the authorities.
Our Council leaders are made up of sisters and brothers who want to help you process, grieve and pray through this and any issue. Please let us know how we can be of help.
In these hard times, let us lean even harder upon God who is making all things new (Rev. 21:5).
Ben for the AABC Council
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