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New SBC President commits to move sex abuse reforms forward

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Brandon Porter
/
Baptist Press
New Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber

ANAHEIM, California (AP) — Bart Barber, the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is vowing to expedite sex abuse reforms in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

He spoke a day after thousands of delegates voted overwhelmingly to create a way to track pastors and other church workers credibly accused of sex abuse.

Delegates also have defeated a proposal to defund the convention’s public-policy arm, which has long been a target of critics complaining it is not conservative enough.

Barber says he will work to unify Southern Baptists and heal divisions. He says local churches hold the key to growing the denomination, whose membership has been declining for over a decade.