Feb 23, 2021
Southern Baptists oust 2 churches over LGBTQ inclusion
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By David Crary | Associated Press
The Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee voted Tuesday to oust four of its churches, two over policies deemed to be too inclusive of LGBTQ people and two more for employing pastors convicted of sex offenses.
The actions were announced at a meeting marked by warnings from two top leaders that the SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, was damaging itself with divisions over several critical issues including race.
“We should mourn when closet racists and neo-Confederates feel more at home in our churches than do many of our people of color,” said the SBC’s president, J.D. Greear, in his opening speech.
The two churches expelled for LGBTQ inclusion were St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and Towne View Baptist Church, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Towne View’s pastor, the Rev. Jim Conrad, told The Associated Press last week that he would not appeal the ouster and plans to affiliate his church, at least temporarily, with The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which lets churches set their own LGBTQ policies.
Towne View began admitting LGBTQ worshippers as members in October 2019 after a same-sex couple with three adopted children asked Conrad if they could attend, a decision he defends as the right thing to do.
“The alternative would have been to say, ‘We’re probably not ready for this,’ but I couldn’t do that,” said Conrad, pastor there since 1994.
St. Matthews Baptist was among more than 12 churches that lost their affiliation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2018 because they made financial contributions to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which had recently lifted a ban on hiring LGBTQ employees.
SBC officials said Westside Baptist Church in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, was ousted because it “knowingly employs as pastor a registered sex offender,” while Antioch Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tennessee, has a pastor who was convicted of statutory rape.
The two-day executive committee meeting opened Monday, with a schedule featuring speeches by Greear and executive committee president Ronnie Floyd bemoaning the multiple acrimonious divisions within the denomination.
“This sound of war in the camp of Southern Baptists is concerning to me, and I know it is also concerning to many of you,” Floyd said. “While we hear and see how the American culture is so out of control, my friends, our own culture within the Southern Baptist family is also out of control.”
Floyd noted that the divisions mirror ideological, political and racial differences nationwide.
“In this fever-pitch environment, each of us needs to be very careful with the words we write, speak, tweet or post,” he said. “As SBC leaders and followers of Jesus, our public behavior matters.”
Greear addressed racial tensions in the SBC, a longstanding problem that has recently been rekindled. Some Black pastors have left the SBC and others are voicing dismay over pronouncements by the SBC’s six seminary presidents — all of them white — restricting how the subject of systemic racism can be taught at their schools.
Going forward, Greear said, Black Southern Baptists should be included in discussions on this topic, including the SBC’s stance toward the concept of Critical Race Theory, which the seminary presidents repudiated.
“The reality is that if we in the SBC had shown as much sorrow for the painful legacy that racism and discrimination has left in our country as we have passion to decry CRT, we probably wouldn’t be in this mess,” Greear said.
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After the two speeches, the executive committee unanimously adopted an expansion plan called Vision 2025. It would increase full-time Southern Baptist international missionaries from 3,700 to 4,200, boost the number of congregations by 5,000 and seek to reverse the decline in baptizing 12- to 17-year-olds.
Floyd said SBC churches are baptizing 38% fewer teenagers than in 2000.
Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.
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Southern Charm’s Kathryn Dennis ripped for partying at Versace Mansion after losing custody of kids to ex Thomas Ravenel
SOUTHERN Charm's Kathryn Dennis was ripped by fans for partying at the Versace Mansion in South Beach, Miami after losing custody of kids to ex Thomas Ravenel.
Thomas, 58, filed for sole custody of Kensington, 6, and Saint, 4, and requested Kathryn, 29, have supervised visitation with the kids on October 23, 2020.17KAthryn Dennis and Chleb Ravenell have been vacationing in MiamiCredit: Instagram/@kathryndennis 17They visited the Versace MansionCredit: Instagram 17She has been on vacation for the last weekCredit: Instagram
After The Sun revealed that Kathryn can now only see her kids every other weekend, the star was spotted having some fun in the sun with her new boo, Chleb Ravanell.
The now-blonde mom first posed alongside Chleb in front of the iconic waterfall inside the mansion.
Chleb then posted a flirty video of the two walking along the hallways.
The couple has seemingly been in Miami for over a week despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as Chleb was the first one to share their location.17A fan asked whether she had lost custody of her kidsCredit: Instagram 17One fan slammed her for travelingCredit: Instagram 17Another said that it was a bad lookCredit: Instagram
Southern Charm fans quickly took to Kathryn's Instagram to slam her for vacationing after losing custody of her kids.
One fan quickly asked her, while other fans commented on how amazing and happy she looked: "Did you just lose custody of your kids?"
Others quickly joined the fan in the comments as one replied: "Seems like her focus should be to get her kids back, not traveling with her boyfriend."
And another said: "I get what you are saying but to be in South Beach hanging out with your boyfriend when you just lost custody of your kids is such a bad look."17Thomas Ravenel now has full custody of their two kidsCredit: Getty - Contributor 17Kathryn now only has supervised visits every other weekCredit: Instagram
The Sun exclusively revealed on Thursday that the Southern Charm star has temporarily lost custody of their two children, as she now has supervised visitation every other weekend.
A source claimed to The Sun: “She has supervised visitation during the day Saturday and Sunday every other weekend."
The insider continued Thomas plans to move to Aiken, South Carolina with the children this summer, as he proposed his plan to the judge when requesting full custody.
The Sun can confirm the temporary order was filed by the court on February 25 after a hearing took place on February 9.
Kathryn filed a motion to seal the custody battle on December 18. Her request was approved, a clerk for the South Carolina courthouse previously confirmed to The Sun.17The reason why she lost custody is sealedCredit: Bravo
With the temporary order under seal, reasons for the custody loss are not available.
A rep and lawyer for Kathryn declined to respond to The Sun's request for comment.
The Sun broke Thomas’ request to change their custody agreement from joint to primary custody, as he cited Kathryn’s alleged drug abuse and neglect.
In South Carolina court records obtained by The Sun, Thomas claimed a mutual friend told him about a recent trip he took to North Carolina with Kathryn, her boyfriend Chleb Ravenell, Kensie, Saint and others.17Thomas claimed that Kathryn had left cocaine at the reach of her kidsCredit: Kathryn Dennis/Instagram
Thomas claimed the friend said: “He informed me that he witnessed a lot of cocaine use during this trip and that Kathryn had left cocaine within grasp of the children, which he thought was dangerous.”
Kathryn alleged in her court response: “I do not use cocaine so naturally I have not left any out for our children to access.”
She also agreed to take a drug test as long as Thomas “pays for it and takes one as well.”
Thomas went on to claim that he hired a man to conduct surveillance on her.17The couple has been on and off for years before calling it quitsCredit: Getty - Contributor
The man allegedly witnessed the Southern Charm star leaving the children home alone unsupervised “on multiple occasions,” noting one time in July at 1:48am, in August at 3:17am and others, according to court papers.
Thomas wrote in the court papers of one alleged instance: “During the time Kathryn was gone, Kensie and Saint are seen alone in front of the house. THIS IS TERRIFYING.”
He also mentioned how a neighbor called police after allegedly finding Saint wandering around a busy road unsupervised.17Thomas has claimed that Kathryn has left the kids alone but she denied itCredit: Instagram
Kathryn responded in her court filing that it is “untrue” she left the children in the home alone.
She admitted her father fell asleep while watching the children and Saint wandered outside. The reality star said her father has not watched their children since.
Thomas continued that Kathryn has failed to get the children to school on time.
Kathryn admitted in her filing that her daughter has been late to school four times this year and three of those tardies were during her visitation period.17He also claimed that her home is messyCredit: Instagram
He said the children come to him from their mother's home allegedly “filthy and unkempt," according to the court documents.
He claimed: “When the children are picked up after their week with Kathryn, they are filthy, their hair is matted, they smell and they are unusually tired and irritable.
“During the summer they were routinely returned without shoes. Saint is regularly returned wearing clothes that are so small on him, they leave marks on his skin.”
Kathryn responded to the claim: “This is untrue. My children are always well dressed and clean when in my care and I am often complimented on how cute they look.”
Also in the court papers, Thomas claimed Saint was “formerly diagnosed with [Fetal Alcohol Syndrome] due to Kathryn’s excessive drug and alcohol consumption while he was in utero.”17He also claimed that Saint has had to take therapy after he was born with Fetal Alcohol SyndromeCredit: Instagram
Thomas claimed their son took “speech and occupational therapy for years to help combat his delays, but he is still falling behind at school.”
In an effort to help Saint catch up to his peers, his teacher created two folders labeled “Mom” and “Dad” containing worksheets for him to complete daily, Thomas’ court filing alleges.
Thomas claimed the folder labeled “Mom” has “never been touched.”
Kathryn did not address Thomas’ claims that their son was formally diagnosed with FAS or that she did not help him complete the school worksheets in her court response.
Kathryn did not respond to The Sun’s previous request for comment regarding the FAS claims. However, she has generally denied Thomas’ claims of substance abuse in the past.17Thomas claimed that Kathryn never helped the kids with schoolCredit: Instagram 17Thomas recently welcomed a third childCredit: Refer to Caption
Kathryn lost full custody of the children in 2016 and entered rehab after she tested positive for marijuana.
In 2018, she filed for primary custody of the kids after Thomas was arrested and charged with assault and battery in the second degree.
The couple’s former nanny, Dawn, accused him of sexual assault in 2018.
Thomas pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and battery charges. He received a 30-day suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.Most read in EntertainmentExclusiveMACK'S ATTACKTeen Mom star Ryan's wife BEGS judge to not take away full custody of sonWHO DARESGemma Collins fancied Ant Middleton and was devastated to find out he was marriedBACK OFF!Vanderpump Rules' pregnant Brittany tells body-shamers to 'rot in hell'CAPRIS QUEENInside Megan McKenna's stunning Essex home as seen on MTV Cribs'DELUSIONAL!' Teen Mom Jenelle Evans' husband David slammed for 'excluding' son Kaden, 7ExclusiveKATHRYN’S NIGHTMARE Southern Charm’s Kathryn loses custody of two kids to ex Thomas
Thomas was fired from Southern Charm before season six.
In 2019, the exes agreed to share joint legal and physical custody of their children with Thomas “being the primary custodian.”17Thomas was also in trouble with the law after their nanny accused of assault and batteryCredit: Getty - Contributor