Sunrise Children’s Services Board of Trustees

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The list of Sunrise Children’s Services trustees, duly and publicly elected by the messengers of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, suddenly disappeared from the organization’s website today. Because I believe those trustees, elected by Kentucky Baptists, deserve to know how Kentucky Baptists feel about the current deliberations of the board, I have posted the names and, where available, unless they have requested otherwise, email addresses of trustees below.

How I wish Sunrise President Bill Smithwick would have been willing and desirous to meet with Kentucky Baptists or their elected leadership before attempting to secretly change the biblical convictions that have guided the organization since its founding 154 years ago! Surely we could have found a better way to walk forward together. Nevertheless, having heard from many of the trustees, I know that we still have reason to be hopeful that the board will reject Smithwick’s recommendation.

Regarding, Smithwick’s recommendation, a quick reading of a Baptist Press article from April 20, 2000 communicates the stark contrast to his former position, when the ministry was known as Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. Consider these excerpts from that article:

“Bill Smithwick, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, told news media the agency will defend itself against the suit. Homosexuals are not good role models for the Baptist Homes’ children, many of whom have been sexually abused or are sexually confused, Smithwick told the media.”

“But the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children will not abandon its beliefs on homosexuality in order to keep its state contract, Smithwick said.”

“The agency’s board of directors decided in March to defend their belief that hiring homosexual counselors is ‘not the best way to care for troubled and abused children,'” Smithwick said.

“‘We are not going to acquiesce to political pressure,’ he said. It’s not ‘a religious issue. It’s a child-advocacy issue. What we’re talking about is what’s in the best interest of children.'”

“Noting that the KBHC is a faith-based organization, he added, ‘We believe for us to promote homosexual behavior is not in the best interest of any child. Such behavior could have devastating emotional and physical consequences.'”

Please join me in praying for the trustees. Should you choose to contact them, keep in mind that the proposed change in hiring practices was raised by the president rather than the board. The trustees with whom I have spoken are noble individuals who want to help meet the needs of hurting children, desire to know how Kentucky Baptists feel about these matters, and long to honor God through their service.

Board Chair
Ms. Joyce Smith
Louisville, KY

Board Vice-Chair
Mr. William A. Hurley
Lexington, KY
Business Owner

 Board Treasurer
Mr. Dennis H. Reed, Sr.
Louisville, KY


Dr. Bill Smithwick



Mr. Thomas Adkisson
Shelbyville, KY

Mr. Paul Barrick, Jr.
Lawrenceburg, KY

Mr. Thomas A. Christopher
Danville, KY
CPA – Robinson, Hughes & Christopher

Mr. James M. Gary
Louisville, KY

Mrs. Pat Gutierrez
Bowling Green, KY

Mr. W. Jerry Hurt
Louisville, KY

Mrs. Bethann Johnson
Bowling Green, KY
Children’s Minister

Mr. Terry M. Johnson
Union, KY
Sr. Account Manager

Mr. Michael D. Lyons
Salyersville, KY
Attorney/Real Estate

Mrs. Jennifer B. Oldham
Elizabethtown, KY
Attorney/Prosecutor – Hardin County

Mr. Eric R. Oliver
Elizabethtown, KY
Sports Medicine Coordinator – Hardin Memorial Hospital

Mrs. Alice J. Pepper
Elizabethtown, KY
Retired Teacher

Mrs. Marketi D. Perry
Danville, KY

Mr. Billy N. Riley
Grand Rivers, KY
County Attorney – Livingston County

Mr. Cory A. Samsil
Paducah, KY
Financial Planner

Mr. Stan Spees
Paducah, KY

Dr. Stephen L. Walters
Pikeville, KY

Mrs. Charlotte M. Whittaker
Hartford, KY

Mr. Brent Yonts
Greenville, KY
Attorney/State Representative

Mr. Michael B. Zimmerman
West Paducah, KY
VP of Business Development

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  1. Tom Adkisson
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the deluge of emails I have received. Why would anyone want to serve? Prayer support is one thing, threats in whatever form I lay at your feet with gratitude!

    • Posted November 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Tom, I will take down your email address. My hope was for the trustees to be encouraged by prayer support and to be able to lead the organization with an understanding of the opinions of the people who had created the organization, paid the bills long before Uncle Sam was involved, and elected them to their positions. Please let your fellow trustees know that if they no longer want to hear from their constituency that I will gladly take down their email address.

      • Tom Adkisson
        Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Reply yes, prayer support-big yes, but not what I have been getting. Thanks!

        • Posted November 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          From the many calls & emails I am receiving from current and former SCS employees & trustees, as well as Kentucky Baptists & Southern Baptists outside of Kentucky, the following message charscterizes what I am hearing & seeing. Past KBC president (two terms) copied me on this message to SCS trustees:

          “I know that you are being bombarded by emails, letters, petitions, etc., so I will try to keep it short.

          Obviously, I am not privy to the internal struggles, discussions, and issues facing Sunrise. What I do know is that of the Baptists that I know, if the media reports are true, believe that it would be a horrible idea for Sunrise to change hiring policies that would open the door to the employment of openingly homosexual persons. So I ask you to stand for Biblical principles and just say “no.”

          I believe that: (1) You are born again followers of Jesus Christ who are thus indwelled by Holy Spirit God. (2) You believe the Words, Truths, and Principles of the Bible. (3) That you are Godly men and women who want to do right and you have stood so strong in the past. (4) You are likely thrust into a position where you would prefer not to be. (5) In your heart, you know that regardless of the money involved or the pressures of the culture, doing the right thing would be to reject a change in hiring policies.

          My advice is the same as Mordecai gave to Esther, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

          I am praying for you.

          Yours in Christ,

          Don Mathis
          1309 James Edward Court
          Bowling Green, KY42103”

    • Rick Robbins
      Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Very well stated, Tom

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  • […] A few days ago, I posted a plea to Kentucky Baptists entitled “Sunrise Children’s Services and the Plank in Our Eye.” Tonight, the board of trustees will meet to handle the issues that have arisen. Below is the email that I sent to the board. I encourage you to do the same. You can find their contact information here. […]