FORT WORTH, Texas — A Kentucky Baptist university has, at the last minute, withdrawn its invitation to host a youth mission team from Texas after the Southern Baptist Convention disfellowshipped their church for its toleration of homosexuals.
Brent Beasley, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, said the church’s youth minister received a call June 30 from an official at the University of the Cumberlands informing her that the congregation’s youth choir is no longer welcome to stay in dorms or perform mission work through the school’s Mountain Outreach construction program, which builds houses for the disadvantaged in Appalachia.
Beasley said a church near the school’s Williamsburg, Ky., campus also canceled a concert that had been scheduled as part of the mission trip.
He said a big part of the 12-day mission trip/choir tour, scheduled to begin July 3, was the stop at the university, affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
The Mountain Outreach program was established in 1982 by two students overwhelmed by the tar-paper shacks without electricity or running water they saw while on a driving tour of rural areas long plagued by poverty.
Beasley, whose first Sunday as Broadway’s new senior pastor is July 5, said the Broadway Chapel Choir, as the youth choir is called, has been taking these kinds of mission trips for years.
“All these kids want to do is praise God with their singing and serve God by helping those in poverty,” Beasley said. “We’re not going to let denominational politics keep them from doing this good work.”
The Southern Baptist Convention voted without discussion June 23 to accept the unanimous recommendation of the SBC Executive Committee to sever a 125-year-old relationship with Broadway. The committee said the congregation failed to prove it had not acted to “affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior,” a requirement for SBC membership since the early 1990s.
Formerly called Cumberland College, the University of the Cumberlands was founded by Baptist ministers in 1889. The school has historically served students primarily from the collective mountain regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Alabama.
University officials declined to comment on their rationale for revoking the invitation to Broadway’s mission team.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)