Response Statement Regarding the Report on Sexual Abuse in Southern Baptist Churches

We are disturbed and grieved by the report of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches that was revealed in the report titled “Abuse of Faith.” Our hearts are burdened for those individuals who have been the victims of such evil acts. We extend to the victims and their families our deepest sorrows and regrets of these violations. This report reminds us of the importance of Paul’s words to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness.” We regret that these travesties have occurred in our Baptist churches where everyone should feel safe and secure. These sinful actions do not reflect the love of Christ or Baptist beliefs.

Texas has both civil and criminal laws to protect victims from abuse and neglect. In compliance with the laws of our state, we urge anyone with knowledge of such an incident to immediately report it to the proper law enforcement authorities. San Antonio Baptist Association has a no tolerance approach to abuse and encourages all of its affiliated churches to take a similar approach.

* Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)

Abuse Hotline Phone: 1-800-252-5400 to report abuse or neglect. The hotline is answered by DFPS Intake Specialists (who are all degreed professionals) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Abuse Hotline Website: txabusehotline.org

DFPS Website: dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Protection/Child_Safety/report_abuse.asp The following resources are offered for victims and their families; some, but not all, are free.

  • Texas Baptists Counseling Services Phone: 887.5488

Email: counselingservices@texasbaptists.org Web: texasbaptists.org/counseling

  • Family Counseling - South Texas Children’s Home Ministries (STCHM) Phone: 837.8246

Email: familycounseling@stchm.org Web: stchm.org/family-counseling

  • St Mary's University Counseling Services for the Public Phone: 210-438-6411

Web: stmarytx.edu/outreach/counseling/

  • The Ecumenical Center for Education, Health & Counseling Phone: 210-617-0885

Web: ecrh.org

  • Clarity Child Guidance Center Phone: 616.0300

Web: claritycgc.org

The San Antonio Baptist Association is committed to providing our afflicted churches with opportunities for education, training, and resources. We encourage our churches to conduct a thorough background check on all paid and non-paid staff as well as all volunteers working with minor children as a part of a comprehensive plan to prevent sexual abuse. While background checks cannot, by themselves, prevent all sexual abuse, they are a critical first step. It is vital for us to continue to be proactive in preventing such crimes.

  • The best background check companies in 2018:

Web: business.com/categories/background-check-companies

 

Churches have access to training materials for education, awareness, and sexual abuse prevention as well as other relevant topics. As a part of our regular ongoing efforts to assist our churches, SABA has in the past and will again in the future offer additional training and education opportunities regarding safety and security.

  • Texas Baptist Ministry Safe

Web: texasbaptists.org/ministrysafe

We will continue to be proactive in supporting the efforts of our churches to prevent and respond to such crimes. Please share this statement with the members of your congregation.

 

Darrell Horn Executive Director

San Antonio Baptist Association