The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi has released a statement apologizing for preventing a black couple from marrying in its church in July.
Te’Andrea and Charles Wilson had planned for months to get married at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs but were asked at the last minute to move.
Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the request on behalf of some congregants who didn’t want to see the African-American couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. Weatherford performed the ceremony at a nearby church instead.
“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. Both the pastor and those involved in the wedding location being changed have expressed their regrets and sorrow for their actions,” the church’s statement read.
“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,” the statement continued.
“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.”
Despite the church’s statement, the Wilsons aren’t convinced of the congregations’ sincerity, calling the statement “an insult” and “misleading to the public.”
“The pastor has not spoken to us since a couple days after the incident. We have not heard from the pastor or any church official since the incident,” Charles Wilson said Sunday.
The Wilsons had attended the church but were not members. They would have been the first black couple to marry in First Baptist Church’s 150-year history.