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SBC DIGEST: KBC president calls for sex abuse task force; Editor emeritus pens ‘guidebook’ on grief

Kentucky Baptist Convention president calls for sex abuse task force

By BY Staff

ASHVILLE, Ky. (BP) – As Baptist state conventions gather for their annual meetings, many are considering investigations of the ways sexual abuse claims have been handled in the past and ways the process could be improved for the future.

Arkansas and California have passed initiatives related to the handling of sexual abuse claims, while Mississippi and Missouri voted down proposals.

Kentucky Baptist Convention President Wes Fowler gave his state convention a two-week notice to prepare for what he plans to present Nov. 16 at the group’s annual meeting. In a letter posted Sunday (Oct. 31), Fowler said he intends “to recommend a task force specifically focused on (1) evaluating how the KBC currently responds to sexual abuse allegations, and (2) recommending best practices for the KBC moving forward.”

He added that he is “not aware of any accusation of the KBC mishandling a sexual abuse allegation.”

Fowler said he will recommend a 10-person task force be created from messengers across Kentucky who are “diverse and those familiar with sexual abuse” to report their findings and recommendations at the 2022 KBC Annual Meeting.

Messengers to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Nashville voted for the formation a task force to oversee a third-party investigation into the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sex abuse claims and to make recommendations for future processes.

Fowler’s letter can be read here.

Bob Terry shares personal journey, practical help in new book on grief

By Carrie Brown McWhorter/The Alabama Baptist

Editor’s note: Sunday (Nov. 7) is Orphan and Widows Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) – When Bob Terry’s wife, Eleanor, died in 1998 following a car accident in South Africa, he began a journey with grief he never expected and certainly never wanted.

“Struggling Toward Hope” by Bob Terry, editor emeritus of The Alabama Baptist, aims to help those coping with grief and those who wish to be better informed on the grieving process.
Photo by Sam Evans

His new book, “Struggling Toward Hope: Life After the Death of a Spouse,” shares not only the personal lessons he learned along that journey, but also practical tips for survivors as they learn to live after a loved one dies.

“When the funeral is over, you go home, and people surround you with love and care for a month or so,” Terry said. “But that begins to ebb as normalcy returns to their lives. Other crises arise within the community, the church.

“But what about all the practical changes the surviving loved one faces? I didn’t find a book that helped with that, and I hope my book stands in that gap.”

“Struggling Toward Hope” tells Terry’s story and provides meaningful help to grieving spouses and others who desire to encourage someone after the death of a loved one. Terry is editor emeritus of The Alabama Baptist and led the publication for 25 years until his retirement in 2018.

In the book, he also examines practical changes that happen following a death, including situations those on the outside probably never think about – questions about how and when to clean out your loved one’s closet, whether it’s OK to redecorate or when to explore new relationships.

“I wanted to point out the learning events in my story,” Terry said. “I wanted readers to know there are some issues you’re going to face at home and here are some ways to address them.”

Lisa Harrison, administrative director for Birmingham’s Community Grief Support, a nonprofit providing free counseling, support groups and community education for those grieving loved ones, called the book “an invaluable resource for anyone who is grieving after the loss of a spouse.”

“This book is truly a guidebook on how to cope with traumatic grief,” Harrison said. “Bob shares the most intimate details of his loss experience, but he also goes on to address the tools any grieving widow can use to get through the journey moving forward without a spouse.”

“Struggling Toward Hope: Life After the Death of a Spouse” is published by Soncoast Publishing and is available in e-book and print from most major booksellers.

Read the full story here.

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