By Adelle M. Banks
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — The last session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention opened with thousands of Baptists lamenting for what their president, J.D. Greear, labeled a crisis of sexual abuse.
Following along on large screens around the Legacy Arena, women, men, pastors, lay people and survivors took turns reading words drawn from the biblical books of Psalms and Lamentations.
At the end of the litany on Wednesday (June 12) they jointly prayed for divine intervention.
“Therefore, our God, hear the prayer and the petitions of your servant,” they said. “Make your face shine on your desolate sanctuary for the Lord’s sake. Listen closely, my God, and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations.”
After days of discussions in which survivors described nearly unspeakable crimes against them, members of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination turned to a 45-minute period of prayer and planning about what they could do next.
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