Crystal Springs church members respond to wedding controversy

Published: Jul. 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM CDT|Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:52 AM CST
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CRYSTAL SPRINGS, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Members of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs quietly walked inside, like any typical Sunday morning.

However, the controversy surrounding Charles and Te' Andrea Wilson's wedding was clearly on their minds.

"I'm hoping the church body will address this, but myself, personally I would like to apologize to the Wilsons, to their family and friends, and to the entire black community because this has happened," said Ralph Miley, church member.

"These are some great people and a great church. I don't see nothing, what they are saying is true. I love these people and they love me," said church attendee Ray Henderson.

The African-American couple were told they couldn't have their wedding at the church because of their race. The pastor, Reverend Stan Weatherford, and members say it was a small group that expressed those views.

Weatherford says he asked the Wilson's to change the location of their wedding to avoid controversy in the church.

"Some individuals intimidated the pastor and created a situation that had him in a bind and he was trying to do the best he could to work it out," added Bob Mack, church attendee.

Many of the people we spoke with us, such as Bob and Barbara Mack, say they've attended the church for years. They say most members didn't know about the situation until they heard it on the news. Many say they were shocked and the small unnamed group doesn't represent the feelings of most who attend First Baptist Church.

"We have been portrayed as a racist church, we're not! We welcome anybody that wants to come through those doors," said Barbara Mack, church member.

"I would say I'm sorry this happened and would you forgive the people who caused it? Because we're gonna try to," added Bob Mack.

In his message, Reverend Weatherford told the congregation to have faith to lead them through this storm and community unity.

However, there was a message from one member to those who have put a black eye on the community and the church.

"We hope we can straighten them out, you know, get them to understand what Christianity is all about because they have some misconceptions about it," added Bob Mack.

In a Thursday interview with WLBT, Weatherford explained what he hoped would come from the situation.

"I hope it will be a situation where the end result, the long term result, will be a win, win for everyone, and that our church will certainly have the reputation that we love people and we want to minister to everybody," added Rev. Stan Weatherford.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.