WMU-NC Executive Director Ruby Fulbright announced in the fall edition of the WMU publication Tarheel Talk that her organization had been “uninvited” from several teams, including the Women’s Prayer Evangelism Conference in which it has participated from the first.
She said the exclusion of WMU from involvement in that conference, as well as the multi-cultural team, new minister’s orientation and basic training for church planters was the decision of BSC leadership alone.
“We had every intention of continuing and valued the teamwork opportunities,” Fulbright said in her Tarheel Talk article, which reaches approximately 24,000 households.
“I wanted you to know about these new developments because I do not understand why this has happened,” said Fulbright, who then asked readers to pray.
Doug Baker, BSC public relations director, said Fulbright’s comments “came as a shock” to many in the BSC staff offices in Cary. He said WMU is no longer included on those planning groups because WMU staff is no longer BSC staff.
“In the wake of the WMU-NC’s resignation from the BSCNC staff, many changes came as a result of their voluntary departure,” Baker said. “These teams are, by design, formed to coordinate internal processes across ministry teams within the Baptist Building in their effort for improved service to North Carolina Baptist churches.
“They are accountable for their progress to the BSCNC administration and work to implement the directives of BSCNC leadership. No outside personnel are included: they remain as they always have been — staff teams for staff work.”
Fulbright said the Women’s Prayer Evangelism Conference planning team included members from outside BSC staff. She said she was told there might be “tension” and a “conflict of interest” if WMU were to remain on the planning committee when the BSC adopts a proposed new women’s ministry, tentatively called Embrace.
“Our commitment remains — to continue to work with individuals, churches and associations in the BSC,” Fulbright said. “It was our desire to continue to work in partnership with the leadership of the BSC.”
As a missions organization, WMU wants to continue its involvement with new churches to help establish a “missions DNA” in those churches, and to offer resources for which new churches often are desperate, Fulbright said.
She concluded her column by asking readers to pray that WMU be “like our Savior, sensitive and obedient to the Father’s direction, loving Him and sharing that love with all the world.”
WMU and BSC leadership have been at odds since April 2006 when WMU, fearing that BSC leadership would move to control WMU staff hiring, unilaterally adopted a change in language describing the relationship between the two entities from “auxiliary” to “partner.”
That move caught BSC leaders by surprise and prompted nearly two years of tense but civil interaction that finally resulted in WMU staff resigning as members of the BSC staff and in WMU moving from the BSC staff building into their own offices.
Resigning cost WMU the $1.2 million it received in Cooperative Program and North Carolina Missions Offering support. WMU maintains that it remains true to its historic purpose of mission support and providing mission education resources for churches.