Windermere Open Letter

July 09, 2013

After my Ethics Daily article yesterday reporting that the Missouri Baptist Convention silently settled a lawsuit for $500,000, trustees of Windermere Baptist Conference Center referenced my article in an open letter to Missouri Baptists. In the letter, the trustees urge MBC leaders to stop its more than decade-long legal fight against Windermere or face a countersuit similar to the one the MBC settled with the estate of the late businessman William Jester. Here are a couple of highlights from the letter:

Windermere's Board wants to be clear: our desire is to resolve this matter without further litigation by any of the parties. Certainly, any discussions on ending the litigation would protect the convention from the threat of further legal action. We believe the various issues can be resolved in a manner that benefits all Missouri Baptists. However, should this litigation continue, Windermere's Board has legal and fiduciary duties to take action to protect the organization from these continued expenses and injuries. 
Windermere's ministry continues to grow. This year more than 25,000 children, youth and adults will visit our beautiful campus. They will come here to encounter the Living Christ. 
... However, our ministry is not complete - we are not whole. Like any family, we long for unity and understanding. We long to put differences behind us. We long to talk instead of litigate. We long to pray together instead of our lawyers trading legal briefs. 
After ten years, one thing should be clear to all of us: this will not be resolved by attorneys. Left in their hands, this will continue. It will continue to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Dollars that could, and should, be used for Kingdom efforts. Windermere will be glad to hear from you about this and to discuss this with you. It is our prayer that you will also contact convention leadership and encourage them to remove this matter from the attorneys and to start an open dialog aimed at ending the litigation and beginning a reconciliation process.
The Windermere trustees are exactly right about the wasting of ministry money. Hopefully the leaders of the MBC will finally recognize their lost cause and stop throwing good money after bad (although that "bad" money used to be good ministry money until it was wasted in the courts). And hopefully the leaders of the MBC will stop attacking the life-changing ministry of Windermere.

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