Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Tennessee Baptist Convention President Bruce Chesser said Nov. 8 that he will ask the directors of Tennessee Baptist Mission Board to recommend that messengers to the annual meeting this month consider a recommendation that would create a Sexual Abuse Task Force.
TBMB directors are scheduled to meet Monday, Nov. 15, prior to the annual meeting that is scheduled Nov. 16-17 at Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood.
“In light of the recent developments within our larger Baptist family and with a desire for transparency and the confidence of all Tennessee Baptists, I am announcing that I intend to ask TBMB directors to adopt a recommendation for consideration by the TBC messengers to create a Sexual Abuse Task Force to evaluate how as Tennessee Baptists we are addressing sexual abuse in our churches and ministries,” he said in a statement given to the Baptist and Reflector.
“Specifically, the task force should be asked to evaluate the process of how the TBC addresses allegations of sexual abuse occurring in churches and reported to the TBC, the processes used by TBMB to protect those it serves from sexual abuse and to respond to potential allegations growing out of TBMB ministries and events, and the resources and assistance provided to cooperating churches for the prevention of and response to sexual abuse in churches,” Chesser continued.
“As Tennessee Baptists, we must remain vigilant and ensure accountability and transparency. Every Tennessee Baptist church is independent and autonomous and must take responsibility for protecting against the potential for sexual abuse in their congregation. Together, we must practice Christian compassion to those who are victims of abuse in any form,” said Chesser, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
“I appreciate Dr. Chesser’s strong advocacy that we, as Tennessee Baptists, continue to do everything within our power to equip and encourage our network of churches to be the safe strongholds against the horrific sin of sexual abuse,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB.
“The review of sex abuse prevention policies and practices in churches and related ministries must be an ongoing effort. I enthusiastically welcome the recommendation of the creation of a Sexual Abuse Task Force,” Davis said.
Glenn Metts, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Seymour, and chair of the board of directors, said the board “will definitely consider Dr. Chesser’s recommendation for a Sexual Abuse Task Force. We want to do all we can to help our churches across Tennessee deal appropriately with sexual abuse and educate and better equip them to prevent sexual abuse in the future.
“A task force will continue to build on work we have already done and help us be as diligent as we possibly can going forward in dealing with this important matter.” B&R