2nd Annual Rally Event Planned
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Anti-Abuse Rally Planned Outside 2019 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting
For Such a Time as This Rally protesting abuse within SBC
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Birmingham, AL – February 19, 2019 – In June 2018, For Such a Time as This Rally gathered in Dallas outside the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting to call for decisive action on addressing abuse. With the Houston Chronicle’s three-part series “Abuse of Faith” published a week ago, the urgency of abuse within the SBC cannot be overstated.
Today, For Such a Time as This Rally is announcing it will join the SBC’s 2019 annual meeting, this time in Birmingham, Alabama on June 11-12, 2019.
Rally organizers have requested appointments with SBC President J.D. Greear and met with representatives of his office. Representatives from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is overseeing the Sexual Abuse Study Group, have also met with rally organizers. While rally organizers appreciate recent announcements and apologies in the wake of the Houston Chronicle’s coverage, there remains a long road ahead.
One of those who raised the alarm over abuse in the SBC decades ago is #ChurchToo survivor, advocate, and attorney Christa Brown. She responded to Greear’s unveiling of www.churchcares.com website and curriculum by stating: “J.D. Greear promised ‘bold steps.’ This isn't bold. It’s bare-bones. The SBC still has a long ways to go.”
Rally spokesperson and victim advocate, Ashley Easter, recalled the 2018 reception For Such a Time as This Rally among SBC annual meeting attendees:
“The response of many pastors and ministry leaders as they walked past the 2018 rally was very disconcerting. Some pastors gave a ‘thumbs down’ sign. Others refused to accept the resource page our experts compiled. We are hopeful that as the Houston Chronicle and others have continue to shine light on this pervasive problem, SBC leaders will be more receptive to our anti-abuse message in 2019.”
For Such a Time as This Rally has contacted SBC leaders and offered to host a resource room at the 2019 annual meeting. The resource room would be available to pastors and other ministry leaders interested in learning how to identify and combat abuse. Rally organizers plan to host #ChurchToo survivors who can share their stories of abuse within the SBC and make resources available.
At this time, the rally organizers have not received approval from SBC representatives.
Jules Woodson, a survivor of SBC clergy abuse and victim advocate said, “It is more important than ever for Southern Baptist leaders to listen to what survivors have to say. To be given the runaround at this stage—when all we want to do is help pastors address and prevent abuse—is extremely concerning.”
Whether a room is made available or not, rally organizers will gather near the meeting site to once again protest abuse. Resource guides written by victim advocates and professionals will be distributed at the rally, outlining best practices for responding to abuse disclosures. Those interested in rally with For Such a Time as This can visit www.forsuchatimeasthisrally.com or the rally’s Facebook Page (@ForSuchATimeAsThisRally) to sign up.
Rally organizers are pursuing three goals:
1. Mandatory training for all SBC pastors, seminary students, ministry leaders, and volunteers on the issues of sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.
2. Establish a clergy sex offender database for the Southern Baptist Convention, including those who are credibly accused, those who have admitted to conduct constituting abuse, those who pled guilty, or were convicted.
3. Address how poorly women are treated, respected, and valued within SBC churches.
About For Such a Time as This Rally:
The name for the rally— “For Such a Time as This”—references Queen Esther, a woman who was a victim of sex trafficking and refused to be silent to her authoritarian husband, the king of Persia. Esther’s story shows the courage that is required to speak necessary, hard-to-hear truths (cf. Esther 4:14).
For Such a Time as This Rally represents hundreds of individuals around the country who stand against abuse in the SBC. Rally organizers include Ashley Easter, advocate and founder of The Courage Conference; Cheryl Summers, advocate and domestic abuse survivor and Jules Woodson, advocate and #Churchtoo survivor.
For press inquiries, please contact rally spokesperson, Ashley Easter at firstname.lastname@example.org.