Many of you have become aware of the Guidepost report documenting patterns of ignoring, denying and deflecting on issues of abuse brought to the floor of the Executive Committee at the Southern Baptist Convention. We are mourning over the pain these egregious sins have caused. In that mourning, we are also thankful this report is out and sin is being brought into the light. We did not respond right away due to the length of the report, desiring to read it in its entirety to best convey our thoughts. Here is what your Elders want you to know, Amelia Baptist:
- We are grieving. There is no doubt that many victims went to the EC for help only to be cast aside or hushed in order to save face and finance. The church should be the safest place for the hurting and the vulnerable. We mourn with those abused by people they trusted. God has determined as he said in Luke 12:2-3, that the secrets will be uncovered, the truth will come forth, and God’s thought about every behavior and action will be vindicated. What’s done in the dark will come to light, and thank God he has created it to operate so!
- Unlike other denominations, churches within the Southern Baptist Convention are autonomous. In the convention, churches choose to cooperate together for God’s glory and His mission to save. We are thankful for congregational polity, but we know it has been used as an excuse to abuse power and cover up sins by this small group in powerful positions. The men mentioned in the report are no longer serving on the Executive Committee, so we hope and pray at our annual convention in Anaheim this June, our committees will adhere to the will of the messengers, representatives of local churches, as many have publicly vowed to bring restitution and restoration to those affected by these injustices.
- We want to be transparent about the procedures and protocol our local church puts into place to keep those in our church family safe from predatorial acts. We issue background checks for all staff and volunteers who work with minors, and it remains our policy that no adult is to be left alone with a child who is not a family member. These will continue to be and have already been the policies of Amelia Baptist. If any abuse allegation reaches the desk of our leadership, the first call we make is to our local police or the dept. of child services. We believe this is how all churches should operate.
- Brothers and sisters, do not let the devil get a foothold. Do not forget the need for the Gospel to reach the ends of the earth. Our flesh and our adversary will use times like this to create distance and doubt among believers, throwing away the call to gather, serve and walk through this life together. Now is the time for prayer, action, restoration, healing, transparency and reason. God is still God and He is Good. We do not serve an executive committee or any other man, we serve the King of Kings and He remains close to His Church.
The Elders of Amelia Baptist Church