LONE OAK, Ky. — The president of a Baptist-affiliated agency for abused children says he plans to stay on as president but is considering his options after church members issued a rebuke of his leadership at the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.
Members at the annual meeting last week voted “no confidence” in Sunrise President Bill Smithwick, who had proposed that the agency consider opening employment to gay workers.
Smithwick said he was anticipating a potential loss of state and federal funding if Sunrise continued to turn away gay job applicants.
The no-confidence vote does not affect Smithwick’s employment at Sunrise, where he has been president since 1997. The agency’s board of directors makes decisions on hiring.
Asked if he would stay at Sunrise, Smithwick said he is “looking at his options.”
Sunrise is the state’s largest private provider of services for abused children, serving about 2,000 kids a year. The majority of its annual budget, about $26 million, comes from state and federal funding. Baptist churches donate about $1 million a year to Sunrise and choose its board of directors.
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