Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — Messengers to the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, held during the Summit at Brentwood Baptist Church, Nov. 14-17, will consider a recommendation to establish a sexual abuse task force.
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board directors approved the request of outgoing TBC President Bruce Chesser that a recommendation come through the board during their scheduled meeting at Brentwood Baptist on Nov. 15.
Chesser told the board that with the conditions in society today and things that have happened in the larger Southern Baptist Convention family, convention leadership “felt best that we need to get ahead of it.”
He stressed the task force is not “an investigation. It is a continuation of something the TBMB has been doing for 20 years.”
Chesser also noted that “people need to know we are transparent and aware and that we want to help in any way we can.”
Two attempts to amend the title of the motion failed. A third amendment was approved by directors to include entities in the recommendation.
The recommendation reads:
“That the messengers to the 2021 annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention , meeting at Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, Tennessee, authorize the newly elected president to appoint a sexual abuse task force for the purpose of evaluating:
(1) The process of how the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC) responds to allegations of sexual abuse occurring in churches and TBC entities and reported to the TBC;
(2) The process of how Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) seeks to protect those it serves from sexual abuse and responds to allegations growing out of TBMB ministries and events; and
(3) The resources and assistance provided by TBC and TBMB to cooperating churches to help educate church leaders on best practices to protect their congregants from the evil of sexual abuse.
The recommendation also calls for the task force to compile a report, including suggestions for improvements, for presentation to cooperating Tennessee Baptist churches no later than the 2022 annual meeting of the TBC in Cordova. B&R