ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Following the recent report that addressed how Southern Baptists have handled sexual abuse allegations in the past, Send Relief is seeking to be a part of the solution by establishing a survivor care fund.
Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of the Southern Baptist Convention of churches, committed $3 million in funding to the SBC’s Executive Committee ahead of the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting to be put toward the cost of implementing recommendations approved by messengers. In addition, Send Relief provided seed funding of $1 million for a sexual abuse survivor care fund that Southern Baptists can contribute to as well through SendRelief.org.
“From the beginning, Send Relief has put a priority on protecting children and families,” wrote Send Relief leaders in a June 8 statement. “Doing so is not a distraction from our mission – it is an integral part of it.” One of Send Relief’s five stated ministry focus areas is “Protect children and families.”
The fund will provide survivors of sexual abuse within Southern Baptist churches the opportunity to receive professional trauma counseling, and it will also help provide trauma-informed trainings for Southern Baptist pastors, churches, associations and state conventions. Those trainings will help equip church leaders to better prevent sexual abuse from happening and minister to survivors in the tragic aftermath of abuse.
Send Relief is a cooperative effort between the SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) that provides gospel-focused compassion ministry.
IMB president Paul Chitwood, NAMB president Kevin Ezell and Send Relief president Bryant Wright announced that Send Relief would provide online opportunities for other SBC entities and individuals to give to the fund. That option is now available through Send Relief’s website.
The one-time gifts totaling $4 million came from funds that were not designated for any specific fund or ministry project, the Send Relief statement said. Neither were the Send Relief funds given out of Cooperative Program donations or gifts to either of the mission board’s missions offerings, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
“Our prayer – like those of all Southern Baptists – is for unity, healing and courage as we advance the hope of the gospel amidst a broken world,” said Chitwood, Ezell and Wright in their joint statement.
Information about the availability of these resources will be made available soon.
If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578 or [email protected]. All calls are confidential.