A total of 32 motions, relating to topics such as race, abortion, budget, abuse investigations, name change, location change, adding a fellowship meal, rescinding previous resolutions and more, were proposed during the annual meeting.
The motion gaining the most attention calls for the Executive Committee to relinquish oversight of its self-imposed, third-party investigation to a task force appointed by the new SBC president, Ed Litton. The investigation will review the EC’s handling of sexual abuse claims, treatment of victims and advocates, and resistance to sexual reform initiatives.
Tennessee pastor Grant Gaines and North Carolina pastor Ronnie Parrott submitted the motion, noting concern of the EC overseeing its own investigation. (See the full text of the motion below.)
Following a time of discussion and prior to the vote, EC President Ronnie Floyd said, “I hear you. The Executive Committee respects the messengers. We need this deliberative process. We know this will make our convention stronger. That is what I want.”
A motion questioning Saddleback Community Church’s status with the SBC after it ordained three women earlier this year was referred to the Credentials Committee.
A couple of motions suggested changing the SBC name to Great Commission Baptists and Great Commission Baptist Convention.
A motion from Joseph Horan, Starkville Community Church in Mississippi, received messenger approval for immediate action. It asked for extra time for new motions, miscellaneous business and resolutions but in the end was voted down by the messengers.
Others were referred to specific entities.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission was given five motions to consider, including ones relating to investigating its board and staff as well as hiring an outside organization to investigate sexual abuse within the convention.
The International Mission Board and North American Mission Board will have to consider one motion referred to both entities, and NAMB was referred an additional motion.
The SBC Executive Committee received numerous referrals: four were general referrals, and eight were specific requests.
Two motions were referred to all SBC entities including the EC.
Ten motions were ruled not in order; some of those were written in the form of a resolution or were demanding an action instead of requesting. Another motion was ruled out of order but promised to be passed on to the next committee on the order of business.
Some motions requested rescinding previous resolutions, specifically in regards to race, but it was later ruled out of order with an explanation from parliamentarian Barry McCarty.
Resolutions are the opinion on a matter expressed by a particular set of messengers in a specific year and are nonbinding, so they cannot be rescinded by future messengers, he said.
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Motion to establish sexual abuse task force
I move that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 15-16, 2021, in Nashville, TN, ask the newly elected president of the SBC to appoint a task force within 30 days of the date of this Convention that shall be comprised of members of Baptist churches cooperating with this Convention and experts in sexual abuse and the handling of sexual abuse-related dynamics. This task force shall either assume oversight of the third-party review announced previously by the Executive Committee or initiate a separate third party review. Said task force shall ensure that the third party review includes an investigation into any allegations of abuse, mishandling of abuse, mistreatment of victims, a pattern of intimidation of victims or advocates, and resistance to sexual abuse reform initiatives. The investigation shall include actions and decisions of staff and members of the Executive Committee from January 1, 2000 to June 14, 2021. This investigation should include an audit of the procedures and actions taken by the Credentials Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which was formed at the Convention meeting in Birmingham, AL, June 11-12, 2019. The review shall be funded by allocations from the Cooperative Program.
We further move that the task force agree to the accepted best-standards and practices as recommended by the commissioned third-party, including but not limited to the Executive Committee staff and members waiving attorney client privilege in order to ensure full access to information and accuracy in the review. A written report on the factual findings of this review shall be presented to the task force 30 days prior to the SBC Annual meeting in 2022, and made public in full form within one week of the Task Force’s receipt of the report along with suggestions from the task force for actions to be taken by our convention.