The Southern Baptist Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force released its first report this morning (Sept. 16) following the group’s Sept. 5 meeting.
The report provides background context, the current status of the group’s efforts and intended future steps.
As far as its current status, the task force has prioritized the following mandates and requests:
•”The retaining of an individual or firm who is qualified and trauma-informed to receive reports of abuse or mishandling of abuse, determine the proper entity, association or church to respond to that report, and communicate this report to the relevant parties.
•”The creation of the Ministry Check database, which will house the names of those credibly accused of sexual abuse in order to ensure thorough information flow throughout the Convention and better resource churches to protect their congregations.
•”Assisting the (SBC) Credentials Committee in retaining a qualified firm to assist them in their processes and in performing factual inquiries related to sexual abuse.”
The report notes that more than 200 referrals have been made to the Credentials Committee related to SBC churches, and committee members need appropriate resourcing to be able to respond.
“The ARITF is currently researching models and firms for this work,” the report states. “Firms with experience or expertise in this area are invited to provide information and/or a proposal to offer their services to the ARITF at email@example.com. Because the needs are urgent, the ARITF is requesting submissions to be made by Friday, September 30, 2022.”
The task force will continue to work with the Credentials Committee to assist with “transparency and clarity for everyone involved” as well as to help ensure “all processes are brought up to best standards and trauma-informed practices.”
Task force members ask for prayers as they work through their assignment. South Carolina pastor Marshall Blalock serves as chair, and Oklahoma pastor Mike Keahbone serves as vice chair.
Read the full report and previous updates related to the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse allegations here.