At the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), a Task Force was commissioned to investigate sexual abuse within the Convention. On May 22nd, the Task Force released its report. I am grateful for their diligence and depend on their expertise as we move forward. We grieve and lament the findings.
In 2006, a Bellevue staff member made me aware of abuse he had committed 17 years prior. When I was informed, I believed that it was being properly taken care of and did not know my obligation to report it to the authorities. I now know that I did not handle the situation properly. A thorough investigation was done at the time and there were no other incidents of abuse reported.
Since then, our church has implemented training on how to identify and report any suspected case of abuse. This training is required annually for all staff and leaders at our church and is made available for all members.
My desire is to lead and shepherd our congregation with grace and biblical integrity. We do not and will not tolerate abuse of any kind and desire complete transparency and accountability.
Bellevue is committed to supporting survivors, working to prevent abuse, and making our church a safe place for all people to experience salvation and Christian growth.
It is time for us as a Convention to move forward with great humility as we repent and seek the guidance of the Lord. Pray for our Convention, that we will act decisively on this report in June at the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
May the Lord lead us forward in grace and humility.
- Steve Gaines