Schism Ch. 4 – Pt. 1: All Eyes On Me

Last Time: Not twenty-four hours had passed since the October Business Meeting’s conclusion when another call meeting was announced for the end of October (three weeks following the Business Meeting). This call meeting would allow the Deacon Board to address the church’s leadership problems.

To make matters worse, rumors were swirling about the Deacon Board pulling a coup d’état by voting Pastor Cyrus Payton out; and the county’s sheriff would be called to force the exiled Payton out. The church’s members’ decisive feelings – being pro or anti-Pastor Payton – was growing more and more evident; taking away the peace that had grown since the last call meeting ten months earlier.


October 29, 2011


Following Deacon Dewey Holly’s reading of why the Deacon Board called this meeting  (the supposed abusing of Dcn. Holly during the Business Meeting when trying to get an explanation of why he didn’t step down as Chairman of the Deacon Board after his Driving While Intoxicated charge) Deacon Samuel Travis emphasized Dcn. Holly’s point that this meeting was for the congregation in attendance to understand how the Deacon Board felt Pastor Cyrus Payton wasn’t working up to par as per the contract he signed upon becoming pastor of the church. Dcn. Travis suddenly asked if anyone had any comments or thoughts on the situation. The room got eerily quiet as if they were waiting for one particular person to stand up and say something. I noticed after a few seconds that all eyes were on me.

I took my stand with the warning that what I had to say could take a while. I verbally reflected on the call meeting from last February that ended with Pastor Payton declaring the lack of communication between himself and the Deacon Board was hindering the church, and the deacons agreeing. As everyone mumbled that I was right, I pulled out a rolled up piece of paper – the letter I wrote and delivered to the church on the first Sunday in September of 2010.

Comparing the letter to the old adage of a tree falling in the woods without anyone to hear it make a sound, I dropped the paper on the floor as a few people audibly noted, “It didn’t do anything.”

I talked about the call meeting I had in regards to “The Letter” during the fifth Sunday in October of 2010 where I was allowed to address the church in regards to “The Letter”, how a lot of people supported what “The Letter” said, and believed “The Letter” would mean great things for the church. Even though everything seemed like rainbows and lollipops after my call meeting, another call meeting was needed – happening in December of the same year.

I explained that during the second call meeting of 2010, “…the whole gamut of emotions were displayed at the December 2010 Call Meeting.”

I talked about how a lot of people blamed Mrs. Abigail Payton (the church’s First Lady and Pastor Payton’s wife) for the church’s downfall, including Sister Brenda Cooke. Sis. Cooke tried to correct me by stating she didn’t say those things about Mrs. Payton being a problem in the church, but I reminded her that she did tell us what old church members were saying to her about Mrs. Payton – statements Sis. Cooke repeated and agreed with in the December 2010 Call Meeting.

With Sis. Cooke’s eyes rolling following my rebuttal of her claims, I recapped the December 2010 Call Meeting’s conclusion that saw Pastor Payton and the Deacon Board agree to work on their problems through Wednesday night meetings.

Deacon Roscoe Calhoun interrupted me to inform us that the meetings, “…lasted for about two weeks.”

Refocusing on “The Letter”, I looked at the dropped paper before stating that “The Letter” didn’t mean a thing to confused congregation because those church members didn’t know what they really wanted.

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