S.C. trustee leads EC members in call for special meeting

Officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee are planning for a special called meeting of the members. A letter from 25 EC trustees calling for the meeting was sent to EC Chairman Rolland Slade on Oct. 13.

In the letter sent to Slade by EC trustee David Sons, a group of 25 trustees explained their reasoning for the meeting:

“The purpose of this special called meeting shall be (1) the election of new officer(s) to fill one or more vacancies that have come as a result of resignations, and (2) discussion and any necessary action related to issues of leadership and trust among the committee, officers, and executive staff.”

David Sons

Sons, pastor of Lake Murray Baptist Church, Lexington, S.C., said the resignation of Ronnie Floyd as SBC EC President/CEO does not change the need for the meeting.

“I think that Dr. Floyd’s resignation only increases the need for the entire committee to meet,” Sons said. “It is important that the trustees remain informed about the current situation and that we are able to take any action deemed necessary to ensure that Southern Baptists continue to be well-served by the Executive Committee and staff during this time.”

According to EC bylaws, the chair has 30 days to call the special meeting once it has been requested.

“It’s going to happen,” Slade said. “I believe Nov. 11 is the 30th day since I received the letter, so it’s going to happen within the timeframe.” He added that the meeting agenda will be altered because of Floyd’s resignation.

“I believe the folks who signed the letter realize that we might not be discussing the exact same things that they were talking about,” he said. “Some of those things will still be there, but not all of them.”

The current number of EC trustees stands at 73. There have been 12 resignations since the group’s Sept. 20-21 meeting:

  • Robyn Hari, Tennessee
  • Mark Elliott, Nebraska
  • Chad Garrison, Arizona
  • Melissa Golden, Alabama
  • Kim Grueser, Pennsylvania
  • Ron Hale, Tennessee
  • Paul Hicks, Alabama
  • Phyllis Ingraham, Alabama
  • Paul McPherson, Arkansas
  • Barbara Norris, Texas
  • Steve Swofford, Texas
  • Chuck Williams, Tennessee

The full number of trustees should be 86, according to the group’s bylaws. Modena Henson from North Carolina resigned before the Sept. 20 meeting because of a personal relocation.

According to Slade, Hari is the only officer to resign so far. Hari was the chair of the Committee on Convention Finances and Stewardship Development.

“Archie Mason was the vice chair of the committee, and he was up to speed, so we brought him up to the chair,” Slade said.

Since there are no guidelines in place for replacing committee leadership roles, officers followed the same guidelines that are in place for replacing the EC chair, Slade said. Mason is the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark.

Slade said a decision on an interim president to succeed Floyd “will not be made until at least after Nov. 1.” “We’re working with [Floyd] to make sure there’s a smooth transition on Nov. 1,” Slade said.

Slade said he is sorry to see Floyd leave the leadership post. “I’m saddened because I count it a real privilege to work alongside him. He’s been an inspiration to me in my ministry, and in my life, period.”

The EC Bylaws give the officers the responsibility of appointing an interim president from the existing EC vice presidents should the office of the president be vacated. They state:

The Officers of the Board may, pending action by the board of trustees, designate a vice president to act as interim president or as president pro-tem, subject to any restrictions which might be imposed, in the event of the death or resignation of the president, or in the event the president is unable to perform the duties of the office because of physical or mental impairment.”

The current vice presidents are Greg Addison, executive vice president; Jeff Pearson, chief financial officer; Jonathan Howe, vice president for communications; and Willie McLaurin, vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization.

Slade believes the special called meeting will be held virtually. EC bylaws mandate that a two-day notice be given.

— Brandon Porter serves as associate vice president for convention news at the SBC Executive Committee.