EC's Frank Page resigns over 'personal failing'

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Frank S. Page has resigned as president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, effective today (March 27) over what is described as "a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past."

Florida pastor Stephen Rummage, chairman of the Executive Committee, released a 300-word statement Tuesday afternoon (March 27) on behalf of the EC's officers noting the circumstances of Page's resignation:

"Last evening, the officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee met via phone conference with Dr. Frank Page during which he announced his plans for retirement. Today, I spoke with Dr. Page and learned that his retirement announcement was precipitated by a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.

"This news will, we understand, bring great sorrow. I have shared with the Executive Committee officers what Dr. Page shared with me, including Dr. Page's repentance and deep regret that his actions have caused pain for others.

"My heart is broken for Dr. Page, his family and everyone affected," Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., stated. "I believe I speak for the entire Executive Committee in saying that we are committed to provide them the spiritual and emotional support they need in the coming days. We also recognize the stewardship we owe Southern Baptists and the watching world to communicate with truth and candor and to honor the Lord in our actions and decisions.

"I call upon all Southern Baptists to pray for everyone involved in a situation like this, and especially for Dr. and Mrs. Page. Please pray for the Southern Baptist Convention and all that is entrusted to the Executive Committee.

"As officers, we are committed to provide leadership that the Southern Baptist Convention will recognize and trust. To those ends, in keeping with our Executive Committee bylaws, we will be working on a plan to provide for interim transition in the wake of Dr. Page's immediate departure and also to conduct a search for the next president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. I am personally counting on the prayers of Southern Baptists, as I know are all who serve on our SBC Executive Committee."

Page released a statement as well Tuesday afternoon:

"It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation from the SBC Executive Committee and announce my retirement from active ministry, effective immediately. As a result of a personal failing, I have embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom. Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation. However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner. It is my most earnest desire in the days to come to rebuild the fabric of trust with my wife and daughters, those who know me best and love me most."

Page, 65, as EC president, has held a key role in coordinating the work of the SBC's national ministries, encompassing two mission boards, six seminaries and other entities, overseeing a Cooperative Program budget of nearly $200 million yearly. Page's work also included building relationships with 42 state and regional Baptist conventions and 47,000-plus Southern Baptist churches in all 50 states.

Page was the 2006-2008 president of the SBC, elected to the post as pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Before being elected as Executive Committee president in 2010, Page was serving as vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board, from 2009-2010.

Among the hallmarks of Page's eight years as EC president have been strong calls for personal evangelism, support for the Cooperative Program channel of Southern Baptist missions and ministry support, and inclusion of numerous ethnic groups, women, young leaders and small-church pastors in the life of the convention.

The Pages have two daughters, Laura and Allison; a third daughter, Melissa, died in 2009.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier Baptist Press report about Page's retirement is below. The story was re-posted based on developing information throughout the day, March 27, 2018.

Frank Page announces retirement as EC president

By Art Toalston

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Frank S. Page, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee since 2010, has announced his retirement.

In a letter to EC members, Page wrote, "It has been my joy and honor to serve the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention for eight years.

"Many months ago, my daughters shared their deep desire for Dayle and me to retire and move closer to them in South Carolina so that we might spend more time with them and their families -- especially our grandchildren. After much prayer and conversation, we have chosen to make this decision," Page, 65, wrote.

He did not set a retirement date but stated to EC members, "Know that I am willing to assist in any way to make this transition efficient and smooth."

Page, as EC president, holds a key role in coordinating the work of the SBC's national ministries, encompassing two mission board, six seminaries and other entities, overseeing a Cooperative Program budget of nearly $200 million yearly. Page also is key to building relationships with 42 state and regional Baptist conventions and 47,000-plus Southern Baptist churches in all 50 states.

Page was the 2006-2008 president of the SBC, elected to the post as pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.

Before being elected as Executive Committee president in 2010, Page was serving as vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board from 2009-2010.

The ultimate aim of the Executive Committee and of Southern Baptists, Page often stated, is for "every man, woman, boy and girl on the face of this earth to have a chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Among the hallmarks of Page's eight years as EC president have been strong calls for personal evangelism, support for the Cooperative Program channel of Southern Baptist missions and ministry support, and inclusion of numerous ethnic groups, women, young leaders and small-church pastors in the life of the convention.

Page appointed eight ad-hoc advisory councils to serve terms ranging from two to three years: the Hispanic Advisory Council, appointed in 2011; the African American Advisory Council, 2012; the Asian American Advisory Council and the Mental Health Advisory Council, both in 2013; the Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council and the Multiethnic Advisory Council, both in 2014; the Women's Ministry Advisory Council, 2015, and the Young Leaders Advisory Council, 2017.

Among his other activities, Page was a member of the SBC Great Commission Task Force, 2009-2010; member of the SBC Resolutions Committee, 2001 and 2006; Executive Board member of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 2003-2007, and Georgia Baptist Convention, 1997-2001; President Trump's Council on Faith Based Initiatives in 2017; and President Obama's Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, 2009-2010.

In addition to Taylors, S.C., Page's pastorates from 1979 to 2009 took him to Augusta, Ga.; Fort Worth and Gatesville, Texas; and Fayetteville, N.C. He holds Ph.D. and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and an undergraduate degree from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. He is the author of four books and coauthor of another.

Page, in his letter to the EC, wrote, "You have been dear friends to me these last eight years. You have served tirelessly beside me -- advising, encouraging, challenging, and honoring my position as President and CEO of the Executive Committee. Most of all, you have been prayer supporters in every way. I will never take that for granted. I thank God for what we have been able to accomplish in this time together. Pray for Dayle, my family, and me as we make this important transition."

The Pages have two daughters, Laura and Allison; a third daughter, Melissa, died in 2009.

Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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