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(RNS) — A “Safe Churches and Ministers” video features a woman recalling how, from the first day she worked as an interim youth minister, the senior pastor of a prestigious Baptist church began making inappropriate sexual advances.
“Is her story familiar?” asks a narrator after the woman describes too-long hugs, inappropriate conversations and an offer to share a hotel room at a denominational meeting.
Michelle - Story - Churches - Today
“Have you considered that Michelle’s story can happen in churches today?”
The eight-minute video from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is an example of how some Baptist organizations, faced with a #MeToo culture and news accounts of sexual abuse by clergy, have worked to prevent and react to allegations that arise in local churches.
Southern - Baptist - Convention - Sex - Allegations
As the Southern Baptist Convention grapples with how to address sex abuse allegations, three other Baptist networks that split from it over the years have already taken steps to educate and assist their congregations should they face similar situations.
Religion News Service asked 10 Baptist groups if they had any policies or procedures related to sex abuse allegations. One of the three that responded was the American Baptist Churches USA, formerly known as the Northern Baptists, from which the SBC split when the more conservative denomination began in 1845 as it defended slavery.
ABC - Communications - Director - Bridget - Lipin
ABC communications director Bridget Lipin told RNS that “every ABC region has a policy and procedure for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct of clergy, and these policies include care for the abused.”
She added that regional gatherings of American Baptist Churches have offered sex abuse prevention training “that includes keeping spaces safe for children.”
Denomination - Database - Offenders - Lipin
The denomination also has a database of convicted or credibly accused offenders who have been affiliated with it, Lipin said.
“Persons who have been flagged because of clergy misconduct are indicated as such in a national database that all regions have access to,” she...
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