As you pull this week’s issue out of the mailbox or click on the PDF in your inbox, our team is putting the final touches on coverage plans for the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
We anticipate having plenty of stories to share during the week and coming out of the meeting.
As for the moment, I’ve struggled with what to share going into the meeting.
Overwhelmed would be an understatement describing all who are attempting to process and respond to the report released by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force on May 22.
And when the task force released its list of suggestions and official recommendations June 1 (see story here), the conversations, reviews and meetings ramped up another level.
Expressions of lament
SBC leaders, state convention executive directors, associational leaders, pastors, church staff members and national entity heads continue to release public statements and expressions of lament.
Alabama Baptist convention leaders also walked through the list of recommended steps for state conventions to consider and outlined their response June 2 (see story here).
We have so many more stories to develop and explain related to the sexual abuse investigation, and we are dropping in a variety of viewpoints online and on our Your Voice spreads each week.
And as we attempt to dig deeper into all that’s happening in SBC life, our team also senses the heaviness that comes with reporting tragedies like the May 14 shooting in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10; the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers; and the June 1 shooting at a medical center that killed four people.
And just hours before going to press June 3 with this week’s print issue we learned of the June 2 deadly shooting in Ames, Iowa. Cornerstone Church is grieving after a gunman fatally shot two young women and then himself in the church parking lot.
‘Can’t quite comprehend’
“We’re gathered here to pray, to try to do something in front of God that lets our hearts keep up to something we can’t quite comprehend,” Cornerstone pastor Mark Vance said during a prayer gathering June 3.
The two young women killed — Eden Mariah Montag, 22, and Vivian Renee Flores, 21 — were Iowa State University students and church members. They were attending the first week of the church’s summer collegiate ministry gathering.
The shooter previously had been arrested for alleged harassment of Montag and had been issued a restraining order.
And after we went to press, more shootings continued throughout the weekend, more difficult news related to SBC life surfaced and more believers were persecuted around the globe.
The darkness seems to be intensifying. We all need each other’s prayers and encouragement now more than ever.
Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions offering 1,000 churches financial assistance with abuse training
During their May 20 quarterly board meeting, trustees of the State Board of Missions approved allocating $200,000 to help Alabama Baptist churches with abuse training and prevention through the SBOM’s partnership with MinistrySafe.
The first 1,000 churches to sign up through the website at ministrysafe.com are eligible for a $200 scholarship, which will cover most of the first year’s fee for training and resourcing. Use the coupon code “alsbom” when signing up.
“We highly encourage churches to take this opportunity to have their people trained for the protection of the vulnerable and for the prevention of abuse,” said Rick Lance, SBOM executive director. “This commitment is to pay $200 for the first year of participation with MinistrySafe.
“The scholarship offsets the major part of the annual cost of $250. This is one of the many tangible ways your State Board of Missions is seeking to resource churches.”
To read more about how state missionaries have been offering resources to churches for many years in the area of abuse prevention and training as well as assistance if a situation occurs, click here.