Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster to Hold Child Safety Forum

By Veronica Kennedy
Birmingham News
January 20, 2012

ALABASTER, Alabama -- The church where Daniel M. Acker Jr., suspected of multiple counts of child sex abuse, served as youth minister is holding a child safety forum this weekend.

The forum at Westwood Baptist Church will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday, in the worship center in Alabaster, 1155 Alabaster Blvd. The event is free and is open to the public.

Jenny Funderburke, minister to children at Westwood, said the church had decided to address the issue after Acker was arrested earlier this month. He is in the Shelby County Jail on a $745,000 bond, charged with six counts of child sexual abuse. Four alleged victims have come forward; none were associated with Acker at the church, according to Alabaster police.

Acker served as youth minister at Westwood from 1990 through 1994. He and his family left to attend another congregation in 2004.

Counselors, law enforcement officials and pastors are among the panelists for the forum. Funderburke said the panel is not yet complete, but here are the individuals who have agreed to participate:

-- Shelby O'Conner, investigator with the Shelby County Sheriff's office

-- Cyndi Abercrombie and Debbie Wilbourn, counselors at Prescott House

-- Kenneth Bruce, student pastor, Westwood

-- Les Hughes, pastor, Westwood

-- Shannon Rumley, parent

-- Billy Hollingsworth, minister to children, First Baptist Church Alabaster

The panelists will discuss talking to children about sexual abuse, how parents can protect children, and how to identify a predator.

For more information, send an email to or call 205-664-0122.








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