BIRMINGHAM (Jennifer Davis Rash) — The number of Southern Baptist missionaries leaving the field may not be so close to the 1,000 count after all.
International Mission Board (IMB) officials have confirmed that “multiple” missionaries have already rescinded their decision to take the hand raising opportunity (HRO) incentive package. The official number of those rescinding will not be released until after the April 21 deadline.
IMB officials also clarified two statements reported in the March 3 issue of The Alabama Baptist.
The original news reports coming from IMB about the 30 staff members losing their jobs because of the closing of the communications department indicated that decision was separate from the incentive packages. There was no mention of the people in those positions receiving any type of incentive benefit.
However, since that time an IMB official said, “The announcement that the RVA communications center would be closing was made the day before the HRO details were announced. Staff members from the center then had the opportunity, along with all IMB staff, to consider whether to accept the HRO. Some took the HRO, some took other positions in the home office and some chose not to take the HRO and remain as IMB employees until the communications center closes on April 29. Those in this final group are eligible for severance benefits under IMB policy.”
The Alabama Baptist also incorrectly reported that other missionaries had left the field since the Feb. 22 deadline for the HRO incentive. The IMB official said, “No missionaries have separated from IMB since Feb. 22.”
To read the full story from the March 3 issue, click here.