EC calls meeting to consider attorney-client privilege, Guidepost contract

NASHVILLE (BP) — The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is scheduled to hold a special session on Tuesday (Oct. 5) at 11:30 a.m. EDT, according to Rolland Slade, EC chairman. The central issue of meeting is the finalization of an agreement with Guidepost Solutions and the matter of waiving of the EC’s attorney-client privilege as requested by messengers and the Sexual Abuse Task Force, appointed by SBC President Ed Litton.

At the SBC Annual Meeting in June, SBC messengers voted for the formation of the task force to oversee an investigation of the EC by a third party.

EC officers have been working with attorneys and EC senior staff to navigate the issue of waiving attorney-client privilege while still protecting the fiduciary responsibility entrusted to them.

Trustees voted on Sept. 21 to provide up to $1.6 million of Cooperative Funds for the third-party investigation.

In that meeting, a motion by EC trustee Jared Wellman to outright waive attorney client privilege failed by a vote of 50-22. A similar motion by Wellman was defeated 39-35 in the Sept. 28 special called meeting.

Since the meeting earlier this week, several state conventions and Southern Baptist pastors have called for the EC to waive attorney-client privilege and “follow the will of the messengers.”

Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC EC, released an open letter to Southern Baptists on Friday (Oct. 1). In it he said the debate has not been about conducting the review, but, instead the EC has been, “…trying to wrestle with accomplishing this process in the right way as they weigh their duty as trustees to conduct the business in a manner which does not bring harm to either the entity they serve or the SBC they serve.”

The Oct. 5 meeting will be held virtually. It will be streamed at sbc.net/ec0921.

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