American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest
News Release September 14, 2005
The American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest Board of Directors has decided to begin the process of withdrawing from the Covenant of Relationships of the American Baptist Churches in the USA. The resolution approved by the PSW Board September 8, 2005, states:
“Because the deep differences of theological convictions and values between the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest (ABCPSW) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA (ABCUSA) are understood by the Board of Directors of the ABCPSW as irreconcilable, the Board of Directors of the . . . effective September 9, 2005 . . . [will] initiate the process to withdraw from the Covenant of Relationships of the ABCUSA. . .”
According to Dr. Dale V. Salico, Executive Minister of the ABCPSW, “The Region Board has . . . determined that the time has come to create distance between the ABCPSW and the ABCUSA so that both may move ahead in the mission God has given them without continual conflict.”
While conflict between the Pacific Southwest Region and the ABCUSA has centered on issues relating to homosexuality, the underlying tensions reflect different values of the two organizations regarding Biblical authority and accountability. According to Brian Scrivens, President of the Region Board of Directors, the decision to begin the process for withdrawal from the ABC covenant came “in response to the inability of the ABCUSA to adopt meaningful implementation of the Resolution on Homosexuality.”
The Board of Directors of the ABCPSW expressed its grief over this decision . “We continue to recognize our brothers and sisters in Christ in the ABCUSA as beloved friends and co-workers in the Body of Christ,” President Scrivens stated. “Because of our long history and many common concerns in gospel ministry, we will have opportunities for continued fellowship and partnership. Our decision to withdraw from the Covenant of Relationship is made without animosity or malice. We will continue to pray for God’s blessing on the ABCUSA, its leadership, agencies and congregations.”
The effect of the decision will be to create some distance between the ABCPSW and the ABCUSA in order to clarify the distinctiveness of their values and ministries. Leaders from the ABCPSW anticipate conversations with leaders of the ABCUSA concerning areas of mission that remain important to the congregations of the Pacific Southwest Region.
The Executive Committee of the ABCPSW, after studying issues related to this decision will make final recommendations to the Region Board of Directors on December 8. Upon the ABCPSW Board of Directors approval, recommendations will be sent to the churches for a vote at a specially called meeting of the Region. The final decision regarding withdrawing from the Covenant of Relationships will rest in the hands of the churches of the Region.
This was emailed to me today; time stamp is 4:39 PM.