LOUISVILLE — The Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board has agreed to ask congregations across the state to collect a second offering to help with expenses at Sunrise Children’s Services, this one on Mother’s Day.
The action was taken in response to a request from Sunrise, which saw a major decline in giving when an offering was taken last November at a time when the southern Baptist-affiliated children’s home was embroiled in controversy over a recommendation to hire gay employees.
“Due to the controversy, the Thanksgiving offering fell far short of the goal and even farther short of the needs,” said KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood. “A special Mother’s Day emphasis could potentially allow Sunrise to catch back up. Now that the Sunrise board has quashed the idea of hiring homosexual staffers, I believe Kentucky Baptists will again be willing to provide the financial support needed.”
Former Sunrise President Bill Smithwick had received a vote of no confidence on Nov. 12 from messengers at the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Paducah. Sunrise trustees had already rejected Smithwick’s controversial recommendation.
Smithwick no longer leads Sunrise.
Chitwood said interim Sunrise President Dale Suttles and the board of trustees are committed to supporting biblical values and to ensuring that the organization reflects a strong Christian witness. Because of that, Chitwood said, the organization is worthy of financial support from churches across the state.
Sunrise board Chairman William Hurley has assured Kentucky Baptists that there is no reason not to support the children’s home.
“Rest assured that if you and your church continue to support Sunrise financially, we will never forget our responsibility to the children extends not just to their physical well-being, but to their spiritual well-being also,” Hurley wrote in a letter to churches last December. “We will not knowingly expose any child in Sunrise’s care to unbiblical influences.”