Send Relief offers $4 million to fund EC sexual abuse response, survivor care fund

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – Send Relief announced its intent June 8 to give $3 million to fund the proposed Sexual Abuse Task Force (SATF) recommendations for sexual abuse reform, and an additional $1 million to establish a survivor care fund to provide trauma care for survivors and trauma training for pastors.

The $1 million would be allocated from Send Relief funds designated for its ongoing mission to protect children and families, according to a joint statement from Send Relief President Bryant Wright, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell and International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood. Send Relief is a joint compassion ministry of NAMB and IMB.

“Send Relief commits the $3 million in one-time funds the SBC Executive Committee estimates it needs to carry out reforms being recommended to the SBC messengers at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting. This $3 million would come from Send Relief undesignated funds, not from Cooperative Program donations or gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” Chitwood, Ezell and Wright said in the joint statement.

“Send Relief’s contribution will allow Southern Baptists’ generous Cooperative Program giving to continue to serve and support SBC missionaries, church planters, and seminary students.

“In addition, consistent with its mission to protect children and families, Send Relief will provide seed funding of $1 million for a survivor care fund, providing trauma counseling for survivors of sexual abuse in the SBC, as well as for trauma-informed training for SBC pastors, churches, local associations and state conventions.”

In coordination with Send Relief’s announcement, the SATF has amended a June 1 funding request of $3 million to fund its recommended sexual abuse reforms over the next year. Those funds would have come in part from Cooperative Program overages and a portion of the Vision 2025 budget.

“We request that Send Relief contribute a minimum of $3 million to the sexual abuse reforms allocation for the first year,” the SATF said June 8 in amended recommendations. “We request the Executive Committee be the stewards of the allocation, in consultation with the ARITF (the SATF- recommended Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force), to fund the sexual abuse recommendations adopted by the Convention.”

In announcing the amended recommendation, SATF Chairman Bruce Frank noted several key changes.

“Some of the recommendations you will find in here are a new funding mechanism through Send Relief that will fund the reform entirely the first year without the use of Cooperative Program dollars,” Frank said in a video statement at sataskforce.net, “a more bottoms-up approach to the third-party investigation of alleged abusers, and give greater definition to Credential Committee standards on sexual abuse.”

Frank also released a new set of FAQs.

The changes allow the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to rescind motions it planned to bring to messengers to the SBC 2022 Annual Meeting in Anaheim to allocate up to $5 million of any overage from the 2021-22 budget to cover SATF recommendations and related concerns.

In a special called Zoom meeting June 8, the EC’s Committee on Convention Finance and Stewardship Development voted to recommend that the EC rescind the motions previously passed that would have sought the allocation of funds directly from Cooperative Program giving, committee chairman Archie Mason told Baptist Press.

“We are thankful for the commitment to reform and care shown in this gesture by Send Relief,” Mason said. “As a result of this funding commitment, the Committee on Convention Finance and Stewardship has met and will recommend to the full SBC Executive Committee on Monday, June 13, that we revert to the previously passed CP Allocation Budget for FY23 and not amend the current CP allocation FY22 budget. We celebrate how Southern Baptists from across the Convention have come together to resource the reforms proposed by the Sexual Abuse Task Force and are again thankful for Send Relief, IMB, and NAMB for their support of abuse survivors and their desire to better equip pastors and churches to eliminate abuse in our churches.”

EC Chairman Rolland Slade announced plans to inform the EC of the intended action in advance of the EC’s regularly scheduled June 13 meeting.

“This is a unifying recommendation that prayerfully the messengers in Anaheim will fully support,” Slade told BP. “I’m thankful we can come together to create a way to fund the recommendations of the TF without CP dollars.”

Send Relief’s contributions are in keeping with its foundational priority of protecting children and families.

“Doing so is not a distraction from our mission – it is an integral part of it,” the joint statement reads. “Southern Baptists are grieving for survivors of abuse and are seeking ways to better safeguard children and families. Send Relief wants to be part of the solutions outlined by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force.”

Slade agreed the move was in alignment with Send Relief’s ministry goals.

“Send Relief focuses on people and that is the focus of this recommendation,” he said. “I fully support it as an SBC church pastor, messenger and as an SBC EC member.”

The SATF recommendations followed an independent investigation, ordered by messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville, into the EC’s handling of sexual abuse complaints spanning 2000-2021.

The report, conducted by Guidepost Solutions, and the SATF recommendations statements are available here.

Send Relief’s full statement follows:

Dear SBC Family,

Send Relief is the compassion ministry arm of the Southern Baptist Convention of churches. From its beginning, Send Relief has put a priority on protecting children and families; doing so is not a distraction from our mission — it is an integral part of it.

Southern Baptists are grieving for survivors of abuse and are seeking ways to better safeguard children and families. Send Relief wants to be part of the solutions outlined by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force.

To this end, Send Relief commits the $3 million in one-time funds the SBC Executive Committee estimates it needs to carry out reforms being recommended to the SBC messengers at the 2022 SBC annual meeting. This $3 million would come from Send Relief undesignated funds, not from Cooperative Program donations or gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Send Relief’s contribution will allow Southern Baptists’ generous Cooperative Program giving to continue to serve and support SBC missionaries, church planters, and seminary students.

In addition, consistent with its mission to protect children and families, Send Relief will provide seed funding of $1 million for a survivor care fund, providing trauma counseling for survivors of sexual abuse in the SBC, as well as for trauma-informed training for SBC pastors, churches, local associations and state conventions.

Following the SBC annual meeting, Send Relief will offer online-giving opportunities for any entity, state convention, local association, church or individual to contribute the survivor care fund.

Our prayer — like those of all Southern Baptists — is for unity, healing and courage, as we collectively advance the hope of the gospel amidst a broken world.

Paul Chitwood

International Mission Board President

Kevin Ezell

North American Mission Board President

Bryant Wright

Send Relief President


If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578 or SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com. All calls are confidential.

This article was written by Diana Chandler, a Baptist Press senior writer. It was published on baptistpress.com.

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