State Board authorizes special committee to review FBSC policies, procedures of sexual abuse allegation reporting, survivor care and prevention

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LAKELAND–A recommendation to create a special committee “to examine all policies and procedures governing sexual abuse allegation reporting, sexual abuse survivor care and sexual abuse prevention within the Florida Baptist State Convention” was approved by the State Board of Missions during its Nov. 8 meeting prior to the FBSC meeting in Lakeland.

The action, if adopted by the messengers, authorizes the committee to review policies and procedures of the State Board of Missions, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist College of Florida, and Florida Baptist Financial Services – including any subsidiary organizations of each ministry.

With the approval of the recommendation by messengers attending the FBSC, the newly-elected FBSC president will be directed to appoint a special committee composed of nine individuals—four pastors, four female laypersons—including one who is a sexual abuse survivor, if willing to serve, and the president who will serve as ex-officio voting member of the special committee.

FBSC messengers will consider the recommendation during its Tuesday, Nov. 9 business session during the state convention meeting.

The following is the recommendation in its entirety:

Recommendation for Review of All Policies and Procedures of Florida Baptist State Convention Cooperating Ministries Governing Sexual Abuse Allegation Reporting, Sexual Abuse Survivor Care and Sexual Abuse Prevention 

The State Board of Missions recommends that the messengers of the Florida Baptist State Convention gathering in annual session November 8-9, 2021, in Lakeland, Florida, adopt the following:

The Florida Baptist State Convention directs that the newly-elected president of the Florida Baptist State Convention establish a special committee of the state convention to examine all policies and procedures governing sexual abuse allegation reporting, sexual abuse survivor care and sexual abuse prevention within the Florida Baptist State Convention by reviewing all applicable policies and procedures of the State Board of Missions, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist College of Florida, and Florida Baptist Financial Services – including any subsidiary organizations of each ministry.

The special committee shall be comprised of 9 individuals. These individuals shall be appointed by the president as follows:

  • 4 pastors
  • 4 female laypersons (one of which should be a sexual abuse survivor – if willing to serve)

The president shall designate one member of the special committee as the committee chair and designate another committee member as the vice-chair.

The president shall serve as an ex-officio voting member of the special committee.

Each cooperating ministry Executive Director/CEO shall designate a representative from their ministry organization to serve as a liaison between the committee and their respective ministry. These representatives shall not have any voting rights within the special committee.

To aid them in the review of the policies and procedures, the committee shall engage one or more outside professional consultants with expertise in crafting policies and procedures pertaining to sexual abuse allegation reporting, sexual abuse survivor care and sexual abuse prevention.

The special committee will:

  1. Review the policies and procedures governing sexual abuse allegation reporting, sexual abuse survivor care and sexual abuse prevention of the State Board of Missions, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist College of Florida, and Florida Baptist Financial Services – including any subsidiary organizations of each ministry.
  2. Identify and communicate opportunities for improvements in sexual abuse allegation reporting, sexual abuse survivor care and sexual abuse prevention to each ministry board of directors/trustees.
  3. Provide a report to the Florida Baptist State Convention messengers gathering in annual session November 14-15, 2022, in Pensacola, Florida, on the work of the committee and the committees’ recommendations (if any) for improvements.

Furthermore, to the extent this review process discovers any policy or practice which had (or might have) the effect of intimidating sexual abuse victims and/or advocates (or might be seen as evidence of resistance to reform initiatives), the committee will notify the cooperating ministry involved and offer suggestions regarding remedial steps that could be taken.

The Florida Baptist State Convention messengers direct that the State Board of Missions provide funding from available sources in an amount up to $100,000 to facilitate the work of this special committee including expenses related to travel, meetings, and outside consultant expenses.


In other action, the Board adopted a policy revision in the Ministers Emergency Assistance Program to give the day-to-day administration of the program to the office of the Executive Director-Treasurer with oversight by the SBM’s Finance Committee.

The revision reflects the convention’s 2015 shift in ministry to support the work of the local church by more directly and efficiently undergirding the needs of the pastors. According to EDT Tommy Green, the ability to meet emergency needs has been facilitated by the convention’s regional catalysts with consultation with the EDT.

The new procedure will also allow the convention to respond to a wider diversity of emergency needs.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board elected a slate of officers to serve for 2021-2022: Brian Stowe, pastor of First Baptist Church in Plant City as president; Phillip Hamm, pastor of First Baptist Church in Palmetto as vice president; and Angel Turberville, the campus director of Family Church – Village in West Palm Beach as recording secretary.

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