The latest news coming out of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee this week includes another resignation and a special called meeting to be held Thursday (Oct. 28).
Rob Showers of Virginia, who served as chair of the EC’s committee on convention missions and ministry, is the 13th trustee to resign since the group’s September meeting. One trustee resigned earlier for unrelated reasons, but the others have resulted from the conflict about the decision to waive attorney-client privilege in the Sexual Abuse Task Force investigation.
Agenda items for Oct. 28 meeting
EC chairman Rolland Slade also has announced an Oct. 28 meeting for 10 a.m. Central time but reported the entire meeting will be held in executive session. He said the meeting will deal with legal, audit and personnel issues, according to an article in Baptist Press.
Attempts by The Baptist Paper staff to reach Slade for more details about the meeting prior to press time were unsuccessful, as were attempts to find out whether outgoing EC president Ronnie Floyd will participate in the meeting and if an interim president will be named.
The special called meeting is happening at the request of 25 trustees, who sent a letter to Slade on Oct. 13. According to SBC bylaws, Slade had 30 days to comply.
EC trustee Adam Wyatt, pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Magee, Mississippi, told The Baptist Paper he is unsure if tomorrow’s meeting is in direct response to the Oct. 13 request, which he signed, or if it is a different meeting altogether.
“There is a lot at stake, and we need to make sure we are all on the same page,” Wyatt explained, adding that trustees need to discuss “where we’re headed and what we need to do now.”
Slade indicated in an Oct. 26 article by Baptist Press that some, but not all, of the concerns in the Oct. 13 letter would be discussed during the Oct. 28 called meeting. He said he is committed to addressing the concerns in the letter and would do so “within the [30-day] timeframe.”
“I believe the folks who signed the [Oct. 13] letter realize that we might not be discussing the exact same things that they were talking about,” Slade said in the BP article. “Some of those things will still be there, but not all of them.”
Full list of EC members who have resigned
The list of trustees who have resigned as of Oct. 27 include Mark Elliott of Kansas–Nebraska, Chad Garrison of Arizona, Melissa Golden of Alabama, Kim Grueser of Pennsylvania, Ron Hale of Tennessee, Robyn Hari of Tennessee, Paul Hicks of Alabama, Phyllis Ingram of Alabama, Gene McPherson of Arkansas, Barbara Norris of Texas, Rob Showers of Virginia, Stephen Swofford of Texas, Chuck Williams of Tennessee, and an unrelated resignation in June includes Modena J. Henderson of North Carolina.
That leaves the number of active trustees at 72 out of 86 seats and three Baptist state conventions — Arizona, Kansas-Nebraska and Pennsylvania — without EC representation. Along with Showers, a second of the four committee chairs is among those who have resigned — Hari (convention finances and stewardship development).
Jim Gregory of Idaho remains an active member and chair of the committee on Southern Baptist relations, and Erik Cummings of Florida remains an active member and chair of the committee on convention events and strategic planning. Serving as EC officers alongside Slade are vice chair Stacy Bramlett of Tennessee and secretary Monte Shinkle of Missouri.
Update 10-28-21: Board member Rod Martin announced his resignation after the above article was published Oct. 27, and one more board member — James Freeman of Missouri — announced his resignation today (Oct. 28).