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Kentucky Baptists say children's home short on fundingcomment (0)

February 27, 2014

The Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC) is asking the state’s churches to make up a $5 million funding shortfall at Sunrise Children’s Services following controversy in fall 2013 over news that the faith-based agency was considering dropping its ban on hiring gays.

KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood asked the state’s 2,400 Baptist churches to raise about $2,000 each in an offering collected on Mother’s Day after the Thanksgiving 2013 offering fell short of ministry needs.

The offering was collected in the middle of controversy over Sunrise President Bill Smithwick’s proposal to the board of trustees that the agency formerly known as Kentucky Baptist Children’s Home would eventually have to drop its policy of discrimination based on sexual orientation or risk losing about $26 million a year it receives in state funding.

Sunrise trustees voted against the change. KBC voted no-confidence in Smithwick’s leadership in November 2013. He subsequently resigned.

Chitwood said in a Feb. 25 blog that many donors, unsure of where Sunrise stood, simply did not give to the offering last year. In addition, he said: “Some secular funding sources, displeased with Sunrise’s hiring practice that seeks to keep good role models in front of the children, have withdrawn the monies they had earmarked for Sunrise.”

Chitwood said the funding gap that Sunrise needs to raise in addition to government contracts is around $7.5 million. To make up for the deficit and make some needed repairs, he said, the agency stands in need of $5 million.

“As a result of their biblical stand, Sunrise has a cash flow crunch and needs our help,” Chitwood said. “To remedy this problem, the KBC Mission Board has approved the ‘Shine!’ campaign.”

“It’s time for each of our 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches to step out and fully support Sunrise’s ‘Shine!’ campaign!” Chitwood said. “We are praying that KBC churches will give $2,000 each.”

“Some of our smaller churches will understandably give less and our larger churches will give more,” he said. “We need all churches and all of our Baptist friends involved. Will you join us in underwriting every dollar of this $5 million ‘Shine!’ campaign?”

KBC contributes $1 million a year to Sunrise’s budget and elects its entire board of directors.


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