Sexual Abuse Task Force Response

A Message from Dr. Gary Hollingsworth – South Carolina Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer

“We are grieved by the results of the Southern Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Task Force report. Foremost, we are grieved for the survivors that have been overlooked, unheard, or dismissed. We lament the actions and abuses that have brought us to this point. In the midst of this grief, we are not without hope. At the South Carolina Baptist Convention Annual Meeting last year, we commissioned our own Sexual Abuse Task Force to respond and apply the results of the national report to our own internal processes, as well as the resourcing of our 2,100 South Carolina Baptist churches. We take this report seriously, and as we move forward with the work of the Great Commission, we look forward to serving each church and every life with the hope of the Gospel, realizing that we are in challenging days but that we are called to be salt and light in these times. An email address has been established at the request of our task force because they want to hear from you. If you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions that will help the task force with their work, please use the following email address [email protected]. Here in South Carolina, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to protect the vulnerable and care for the abused and do our part to lead the way.”
– Dr Gary Hollingsworth, SCBC Executive Director-Treasurer

A Message from DJ Horton- South Carolina Baptist Sexual Abuse Task Force Chairman

“On behalf of the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s Sexual Abuse Task Force in consultation with our convention’s Executive Leadership Team, I wanted to inform our South Carolina Baptist family that we are aware of the recent release of the list of convicted and credibly accused church sexual abusers.  As a part of our process, we fully intend to consider any individuals or incidents on the list connected to South Carolina Baptist churches or ministries with regard to the recommendations we bring before the executive board and our annual meeting this fall.  As painful and difficult as this process is we would fail survivors and our broader faith family if we did not allow the lessons learned from this list to inform the way we move forward.” 
– D.J. Horton, SCBC Sexual Abuse Task Force Chair

South Carolina Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Task Force Members

Our South Carolina Baptist Convention Sexual Abuse Task Force is made up of four pastors, one of which is a church planter. The Task Force also includes two counselors, two attorneys, three women, and three members of our current Executive Board.  The full list of Task Force members is provided below. Please take time to pray for them by name as they review the report from the national level and see how we might best apply these findings to our unique South Carolina context.

DJ Horton
Chair – SCBC Sexual Abuse Task Force
Pastor – Church at the Mill
SCBC President – 2014

Kathy Robinson
Vice Chair – SCBC Sexual Abuse Task Force
Strategy Director – First Baptist Church Simpsonville / Upstate Church

Stephens Cutchins
Pastor – First Baptist Church North Augusta
Member – SCBC Executive Board

Elizabeth Darrah
Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries

Steve Hogg
Pastor – First Baptist Church Rock Hill
Chair – SCBC Executive Board

Marty Hogue
Pastor – First Baptist Church Favenel

Mellissa Lu
Member – First Baptist Church Charleston

Philip Pinkney
Pastor / Church Planter – Radiant Church Charleston

Caleb Riser
Member – SCBC Executive Board
Member – Shandon Baptist Church

A joint statement on the creation of an SBC Sexual Abuse Hotline:

Since the release of the Guidepost report on Sunday, May 22, 2022, the SBC Executive Committee, Guidepost Solutions, and members of the Sexual Abuse Task Force have been fielding calls from survivors regarding allegations of sexual abuse. Today, the SBC Executive Committee entered into an agreement for Guidepost to maintain a hotline for survivors or their proxies to submit allegations of abuse within the SBC. All submitters will remain confidential. Survivors will be notified of the available options for care and will be put in touch with an advocate. While Guidepost will not be inquiring into the allegations at this time, they will hold the information confidentially. The Sexual Abuse Task Force will be assisting the SBC Executive Committee and the Convention in establishing processes for proper inquiries, and this hotline will serve as a resource to survivors and entities in responding properly while we work to put more permanent procedures in place. This hotline will be an important stopgap measure for survivors between now and the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim when the messengers can pass even more meaningful reforms.
The hotline can be reached at 202-864-5578 or [email protected].

Willie Mclaurin
Interim President – SBC Executive Committee

Julie Myers Wood
Guidepost Solutions

SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force
Bruce Frank – Lead Pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, NC
Marshall Blalock – Pastor, First Baptist Church, Charleston, SC
John Damon – Chief Executive Officer, Canopy Children’s Solutions, Jackson, MS
Liz Evan – Judicial Law Clerk, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, Nashville, TN
Heather Evans – Director, Evans Counseling Services, Coopersburg, PA
Andrew Hebert – Lead Pastor, Paramount Baptist Church, Amarillo, TX
Bucas Sterling Ill – Senior Pastor, Kettering Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro, MD
Rachael Denhollander – Task Force Advisor
Chris Moles – Task Force Advisor

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