Mediation ends between the MBC, four agencies - Word&Way

Mediation ends between the MBC, four agencies

Mediation between the Missouri Baptist Convention and four formerly affiliated agencies has ended without a resolution. The primary issue — who would control those organizations — could not be settled.

Organizational heads and attorneys met with mediators Jan. 14-16 in Columbia, Mo., where they discussed governance and other issues. While participants said in a joint statement at the time that talks were “civil and conducted in a spirit of openness,” they could not reach a settlement agreeable to all parties.

The convention’s agency restoration group met late in January, but all parties did not meet jointly again.

In 2000 and 2001, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University and Word&Way changed their governing documents so that each could elect its own trustees.

The MBC filed a lawsuit in Cole County on Aug. 13, 2002, in an attempt to regain control of them. The convention later dropped the news journal from the litigation. Windermere won in the Cole County action, but a second case the convention filed against the center in Camden County continues. Windermere has since filed legal action against the MBC, also in Camden County.

Last fall, Church Mutual Insurance Company, which insures the MBC and Windermere, called for mediation talks between the convention and the four entities. All parties agreed and met individually with the firm’s chosen mediators.

With the end of mediation, the case returns to Cole County Circuit Court where motions are still pending.