On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, the SATF released its report to the 169th session of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention meeting at First Baptist Church in Hot Springs.
This follows last year’s vote at the 168th session of the Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention to form a sexual abuse task force. 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.”
For more information on the decision made by messengers to form the Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF), click here.
The task force held its first in-person meeting on November 19, 2021, where Brad Lewter, pastor of Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Smith, was elected chairperson.
“In addition to electing officers, the group began their work in fulfilling our task of ensuring the policies and procedures of the ABSC are above reproach in handling sexual abuse allegations,” said Larry D. White, president of the ABSC and ex-officio on the task force.
White serves along with David Mitchell, vice president of the 2022 ABSC, and six other Arkansas Baptists.
Megan McFerron of Mount Vernon Baptist Church was elected vice chairperson. Other members of the task force include Betsy Danielson of First Baptist Church in Booneville, Stephanie Davis of First Baptist Church in Benton, Matt Duran of Indian Springs Baptist Church in Bryant and Chuck Graham of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot.
This morning, Secretary Matt Duran noted that the report was intended to protect minors and adults and to aid churches and ABSC entities to be above reproach. Chairman Brad Lewter made a motion that the report be approved. A second was obtained and the report was unanimously approved by messengers.