Mississippi pastor fired after participating in rallies, speaking out against racial inequality
LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI/WLBT) - The bishop of a Mississippi church says he was ousted for his role in recent rallies standing up to injustices and racial inequality.
“This has deeply hurt us. Because this is people we’ve poured three and half years of our lives into. We’ve been through weddings, weddings of their children, baptisms,” said Bishop Volland.
A vision of diversity - that’s what Bishop Scott Volland had in mind when he and his wife started leading The Heights in Columbus.
Volland has been very vocal about racial inequality in our nation and state, even participating in local rallies. But since the nation’s eyes are now turning to Lowndes County, it’s something he says some in the church don’t agree with him doing.
“They said that what I was doing was shedding a negative light on the church. I was told my views didn’t reflect many of the views in that church. They, in fact, did not only disagree with me being involved but in many cases disagreeing with what I was saying.”
Volland says some threatened to leave the church because they disagreed with him speaking out for causes of equality and social justice. Part of Volland’s mission, he says, is to reach out to all people and have a church that represents the entire community.
But during the meeting where he was voted out, Volland says he was told his agenda wouldn’t work.
“When I took exception to the word ‘agenda’ it was corrected to say well, your plan, your passion, what you want, either way, it won’t work in this church,” said Volland.
For The Heights congregation, it’s a vision that’s changed. Volland says things were stated that don’t represent the direction he had in mind. And racial issues are still here in Columbus, Mississippi.
“I have heard remarks over the past few weeks of how this is the deep south, that’s just how things are here. I’ve heard remarks, ‘This is Mississippi, we don’t care what goes on in the rest of the country,‘” said Volland.
Volland stresses he has no ill will towards anyone in the church, they’re just not seeing eye to eye.
“This is just a time where our visions and ideologies were diametrically opposed and it was best for us to part ways than continue to be a frustration one to another and have bitterness that builds up. I’d sooner part ways on a somewhat friendly note than to stay and part ways as enemies,” said Volland.
Calls and messages to The Heights have not yet been returned. Volland added during the vote the board was deadlocked and one member, in support of Volland, voted to remove him because no common ground was being met. That board member has resigned.
Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.