A predominately white Mississippi Baptist church that refused to let a black couple wed there has issued an apology, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger says.
Just days before their July 21 marriage, Te'Andrea Henderson and Charles Wilson had to relocate to another church after several members of the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs congregation complained. The pastor, Rev. Stan Weatherford, still officiated at the wedding.
"We, the church, realize that the Hendersons and Wilsons should never have been asked to relocate their wedding. This wrong decision resulted in hurt and sadness for everyone," says the "statement of restoration and reconciliation" issued Sunday by the church. "Both the pastor and those involved in the wedding location being changed have expressed their regrets and sorrow for their actions."
As a church, we express our apology to Te'Andrea and Charles Wilson for the hurt that was brought to them in the hours preceding their wedding and beyond.
We are seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ, Te'Andrea and Charles, family and friends of the Hendersons and Wilsons, our church family, and our community for the actions and attitudes that have recently occurred.
We the membership of First Baptist Church Crystal Springs, hold the position that we should be open to all people. Our desire is to restore the church to be a spiritual lighthouse in doing the Lord's will in Crystal Springs and in Mississippi. ...
Henderson's family continued to attend the church, "saying that they had faith in Pastor Stan Weatherford and the congregation, and felt the moving of the wedding was simply due to some unfriendly church members," the Clarion-Ledger writes.
Another black family joined the church Sunday, a congregant said in a photo sent to the paper.
The church attracted international attention and drew rebukes from major Baptist organizations. Townspeople held a prayer rally in support of the couple.
By Michael Winter, USA TODAY