A hotline has been established to allow those affected by sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches. The number is 202-864-5578.
According to the joint statement from the Southern Baptist Committee (SBC) Executive Committee (EC), Guidepost Solutions and the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF), “Since the release of the Guidepost report on Sunday, the SBC Executive Committee, Guidepost Solutions and members of the Sexual Abuse Task Force have been fielding calls from survivors regarding allegations of sexual abuse.”
A 288-page report on the alleged mishandling of sexual abuse claims was released on May 22.
In the initial statement from the SATF, one of the initial needs was, “We recommend that the Executive Committee hire a subject matter expert(s) to receive calls, provide initial guidance for reports of sexual abuse, and work with state conventions for training and educational opportunities.”
“This hotline will be an important stopgap measure for survivors between now and the 2022 SBC annual meeting in Anaheim when the messengers can pass even more meaningful reforms,” the statement said.
The hotline will be facilitated by Guidepost Solutions. All information will be held confidential.
In addition to being available by a separate number, an option will give callers the ability to connect with the hotline when they call the main phone line of the SBC EC.
If needed and desired, reports made to the hotline can also be submitted to the SBC Credentials Committee for inquiry.
The full statement reads
A joint statement on the creation of an SBC Sexual Abuse Hotline:
Since the release of the Guidepost report on Sunday, the SBC Executive Committee, Guidepost Solutions and members of the Sexual Abuse Task Force have been fielding calls from survivors regarding allegations of sexual abuse. Today, the SBC Executive Committee entered into an agreement for Guidepost to maintain a hotline for survivors or their proxies to submit allegations of abuse within the SBC. All submitters will remain confidential. Survivors will be notified of the available options for care and will be put in touch with an advocate.
While Guidepost will not be inquiring into the allegations at this time, they will hold the information confidentially. The Sexual Abuse Task Force will be assisting the SBC Executive Committee and the convention in establishing processes for proper inquiries, and this hotline will serve as a resource to survivors and entities in responding properly while we work to put more permanent procedures in place. This hotline will be an important stopgap measure for survivors between now and the 2022 SBC annual meeting in Anaheim, when the messengers can pass even more meaningful reforms.
The hotline can be reached at 202-864-5578 or S[email protected].
Willie McLaurin, interim president, SBC EC
Julie Myers Wood, Guidepost Solutions
SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force
- Bruce Frank, lead pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, N.C.
- Marshall Blalock, pastor, First Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C.
- John Damon, chief executive officer, Canopy Children’s Solutions, Jackson, Miss.
- Liz Evan, judicial law clerk, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Nashville, Tenn.
- Heather Evans, director, Evans Counseling Services, Coopersburg, Pa.
- Andrew Hébert, lead pastor, Paramount Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.
- Bucas Sterling III, senior pastor, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, Md.
- Rachael Denhollander, task force advisor
- Chris Moles, task force advisor
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Porter serves as associate vice president for convention news at the SBC Executive Committee.)