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SBC DIGEST : Benkert steps down from ARITF; SBC EC prepares for meetings

Benkert steps down from Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force


NASHVILLE (BP) – Indiana pastor Todd Benkert is no longer a member of the SBC Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF). The announcement was shared on the ARITF website Friday (Feb 17).

“As a committed advocate for survivors and abuse reform, I was honored by the opportunity to serve as a member of the ARITF. When I agreed to accept this responsibility, I did so in order to speak to the task force rather than speaking for the task force,” Benkert said in the statement.

Benkert spoke with The Tennessean on Feb. 2 after reporting two churches to the SBC Credentials Committee concerning their partnership with Johnny Hunt.

In the Feb. 17 statement, Benkert, pastor of Oak Creek Community Church in Mishawaka, Ind., said, “… in order to maintain my ability to speak and act according to my conscience on these issues without representing the task force, it is clear I can best support survivors and advance reform in my role as an advocate rather than a task force member.”

He said he will continue to support the work of the ARITF and “consult with them as needed.”

Members of the ARITF were named by SBC Pres. Bart Barber in August 2022 following the messengers’ affirmation of the Sexual Abuse Task Force recommendations at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.

Speaking on behalf of the ARITF, Chairman Marshall Blalock said, “Todd has a clear concern for survivors and a passion to see needed changes implemented concerning abuse. We are grateful for Todd’s work and ongoing advocacy in support of abuse reform in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Blalock is scheduled to provide a task force update to Executive Committee members on Monday, Feb. 20 in Nashville.

SBC EC set for meetings Feb. 20-21


NASHVILLE (BP) – The SBC Executive Committee is scheduled to meet Feb. 20-21 in Nashville at the SBC building.

The meeting comes a little more than a year after Willie McLaurin was named interim president and CEO. The President Search Committee has informed members they will not bring a recommendation for a permanent candidate to the table at the meeting.

On the agenda are several weighty matters including a financial update, a legal update and a code of conduct for members. They will also hear from McLaurin, SBC President Bart Barber and Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force Chairman Marshall Blalock. The SBC Credentials Committee is also expected to report to the EC.

The EC plenary sessions can be live-streamed on the ACT2 app. Sessions are scheduled for 6:30 PM Central on Monday (Feb. 20) and 12:30 PM Tuesday (Feb. 21).

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