Mediation of Missouri Baptist lawsuits fails

Missouri Baptist officials say they are heading back to court after attempted mediation called for by their insurance carrier failed to end lawsuits against former convention entities filed in 2002.

By Bob Allen

Attempted mediation of a 12-year-old legal battle pitting the Missouri Baptist Convention against four breakaway agencies failed to produce an agreement, convention officials announced Jan. 31.

Convention leaders met with representatives of the Missouri Baptist Foundation, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University and Windermere Baptist Conference Center Jan. 14-16 and again on Jan. 29, according to statements released through The Pathway newspaper. Messengers to the MBC annual meeting voted in November to authorize a mediation attempt called for by the convention’s insurance carrier.

Discussions were “civil and conducted in a spirit of openness,” Missouri Baptist officials said, but “confirmed the disagreement concerning the corporations’ governance.”

“Thus despite months of discussions and hard work towards that goal by all of the parties, no agreement was reached at this most recent conference,” the Jan. 31 statement said. “As a result, the Missouri Baptist Convention will ask the courts to rule on pending motions and briefs to clarify the corporate relationship between the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Foundation, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University and Windermere.”

The convention originally filed lawsuits Aug. 13, 2002, against five institutions that changed their governing documents so that the convention no longer could elect their boards of trustees, but dropped the complaint against the newspaper Word and Way in 2010.