In the wake of a major investigative news report about sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) is reassuring congregations across the state that assistance is available to help them protect churchgoers, respond to abuse allegations and minister to survivors.
The BSC, along with all Southern Baptist state conventions, has committed to act in accordance with a “Statement of Principles on Abuse,” developed in partnership with the Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group launched last summer by J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham.
“The recent stories of sexual abuse in churches across the Southern Baptist Convention should drive each of us to our knees in prayer before God,” said Brian Davis, BSC associate executive director-treasurer. “We must pray for those who have been abused, their families, and the churches where these horrors have occurred.
“I am praying that God will stir the hearts of His people to love and support those that have been harmed. I am also praying that God will stir His people in our churches to ask hard questions about the preparations their churches have made to recognize and report abuse. In addition, it’s incumbent upon our churches to review their policies and procedures to ensure children are protected, ministry volunteers are thoroughly screened, and ministry leaders are properly trained so that our churches will be recognized as safe places for all people to hear and experience the life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The following consultants are available for assistance with safety and prevention procedures (organized by topic):
Cheryl Markland, senior consultant, Childhood Evangelism & Discipleship
800-395-5102 (ext. 5645)
Children’s missions and camps
Dollie Noa, senior consultant, N.C. Baptist Men (also called Baptists on Mission)
800-395-5102 (ext. 5598)
Church bylaws and policies
Eddie Thompson, senior consultant, Pastoral Ministries
800-395-5102 (ext. 5644)
Pamela Bills, director, Human Resources
800-395-5102 (ext. 5616)
Merrie Johnson, senior consultant, Youth Evangelism & Discipleship
800-395-5102 (ext. 5568)
Tom Beam, student summer mission mobilization consultant, N.C. Baptist Men
800-395-5102 (ext. 5626)
Ashley Allen, senior consultant, Embrace Women’s Ministry
800-395-5102 (ext. 5559)
The following consultants are available for assistance with abuse response and counseling:
Abuse survivors (general)
Bryan Hatcher, chief executive officer, CareNet Counseling
Abuse survivors (safe homes)
Keith Henry, chief operating officer, Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina
Reporting allegations of abuse
To report allegations of sexual abuse or other misconduct, contact local law enforcement or social services. (More information is available at ncdhhs.gov.) North Carolina’s mandatory reporting laws require any adult with cause to suspect the abuse or neglect of a person under 18 years old to alert authorities. Reports made in good faith are protected from civil or criminal liability. Failure to report could result in fines or jail time. Clergy privilege does not exempt ministers or religious organizations from reporting requirements.
N.C. Baptist churches may also contact Davis at 800-395-5102 (ext. 5506) or [email protected]