Statement from Pastor Troy Bush

March 13, 2019

Dear Rehoboth Family,

As your pastor and on behalf of our Rehoboth Advisory Team, I want to continue our open communication with you regarding the matter of abuse that occurred in the early 1980s related to our church family. 

As many of you now know, we learned a youth minister who served with our church from 1981-1984 sexually molested five boys during that period. Though these crimes occurred nearly 40 years ago, this news has been devastating. We have been sickened by it and have mourned that anything like this would happen to anyone, especially to members of our own church family.

We have spoken with David Pittman, one of the survivors that has made his story public at the website for Together We Heal and in a series of articles about abuse and neglect by Southern Baptist leaders to hold accountable those that have committed these evil acts: Abuse of Faith—20 years, 700 victims; Southern Baptist Sexual Abuse Spreads as Leaders Resist Reforms. As we read these stories, our hearts grieved for the victims, and we were angered by these injustices. We also stand with those that find it wrong and unacceptable to fail to hold accountable those that have committed these sinful acts.

The abuse we are speaking about related to Rehoboth occurred decades ago, and it was unknown to the pastors and the church. It did not occur on the church campus, and David Pittman has assured us that he is confident that if the pastor then had known, appropriate actions would have been taken against the perpetrator.

But what our church did not know then, we know now. You can read here REHOBOTH BAPTIST CHURCH: USING THE PAST TO ADDRESS THE PRESENT AND FUTURE the story of how we responded to hold the perpetrator accountable and to call on the church where he was serving as a worship leader to remove him from all leadership roles. 

Rehoboth has had policies and practices to protect children and youth for many years. 

  • We have written Policies and Guidelines for Protecting Children & Youth
  • We conduct annual criminal background checks on staff and volunteers
  • We require Georgia Mandated Reporter Training for staff and volunteers
  • We counsel separation for adult victims of domestic violence
  • We counsel victims of abuse to make police reports and to consider pressing charges
  • We have a video camera system in our facilities

In our recent review of our policies and practices, we have committed to take the additional step of becoming a GRACE-certified (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) church, and David has agreed to be our certification consultant.

As we have talked about the subject of abuse during recent weeks, some have come forward to tell us of abuse they suffered in other places in the past. If this is your story, know that we love you and want to help. Sharing your story with anyone is difficult, and we want to encourage you not to live any longer in guilt, shame, or fear. Sexual abuse is a sin, and it is a crime. Jesus not only loves you to save you, but also to heal your wounds. 

Below is a list of resources, and we would also encourage you to report abuse to the police.

For immediate help, you can reach trained professionals 24/7 here:

  • The National Hotline for Domestic Violence number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
  • The National Child Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-422-4453.
  • The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

You can reach a Christian counselor in our area here:

As the Lord leads you to process past abuse or for those of you who want to grow in caring for those who have suffered, here are a few recommended resources:

We stand with Southern Baptist leaders calling for change, transparency, and accountability. We mourn the abuse about which we have learned, and we pray for healing for those that have experienced it. And we must do as Jesus has called us to do—protect the vulnerable, especially our children.

With heavy hearts,
Pastor Troy Bush and The Rehoboth Advisory Team

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