CABOT, Ark. — Messengers of the 168th session of the Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) voted in favor of forming a sexual abuse task force last Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The vote came after a motion was presented during the meeting to form a task force to “ensure the policies and procedures of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention are above reproach in handling sexual abuse allegations.”
It went on to “recognize [that] the ABSC does not have authority over the local church; however, this motion’s intent is to ensure that where the ABSC does have purview, it is above reproach.”
ABSC Executive Director Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker issued a statement that was signed in agreement by Director of Convention Administration Marcus Brown, Director of Convention Advancement and News Craig Jenkins, Director of Convention Business David Bond, Church Planting Team Leader Vince Blubaugh, Missions Team Leader Bob Harper, Evangelism and Church Health Team Leader Will McKay and College and Young Leaders Team Leader Bruce Venable.
“As the Executive Director of the Executive Board of the ABSC, I stand against sexual abuse to the highest degree. My heart breaks for those who have faced this tragedy. I fully affirm and welcome the establishment of a task force with the intention to ensure the ABSC operates by the highest standards possible in regards to sexual abuse and allegations related to this matter. We will continue to utilize resources to serve churches in order to prevent sexual abuse from ever occurring. Also, we will continue to seek ways to bring help, comfort and healing for those who have suffered sexual abuse,” Tucker said.
“The task force is to report back best practices and steps taken within the ABSC to the messengers at the 2022 annual meeting,” according to the motion.
“I am pleased with the motion that was approved by our Convention regarding a Sexual Abuse Task Force,” said Dr. Larry D. White, president of the 2022 Arkansas Baptist State Convention. “This is a serious and important matter for our Convention, entities and churches. I began praying and vetting potential members of this task force immediately after our Convention meeting. We have several skilled and willing candidates who are ready to work together to ensure that we are above reproach.”