Schism Ch. 4 – Pt. 7: Unresolved

Last Time: The latest Call Meeting continued as Pastor Cyrus Payton finally had an opportunity to speak.


October 29, 2011


Trustee Sinclair Millard asked Pastor Cyrus Payton how he knew about these Trustee-Deacon Board meetings especially since Tr. Millard hadn’t been involved in any of them. Several other Trustee Board members echoed Tr. Millard’s sentiments. Pastor Payton reworded his prior statement by saying a Trustee Board member and a Deacon Board member had been conversing with a Reverend Dickson. Deacons Dewey Holly, Bill Richards, Carlton Stevens, and Tr. Millard vocalized their lack of understanding who Pastor Payton was talking about.

Suddenly, Deacon Roscoe Calhoun spoke up, “Oh, Reverend Dickson? Yeah, I know him. I know him real good. He’s the former preacher at (another Baptist church).”

Pastor Payton smiled before telling everyone, “I think you see what I mean.”

Completing his statement, Pastor Payton left the room so an unbiased decision could be made without his physical or verbal input.

Feeling a resolution was needed sooner than later, Dcn. Richards suggested the church vote on keeping or getting rid of Pastor Payton because, according to the Deacon Board, he hasn’t lived up to his word. Dcn. Holly seconded this suggestion.

I raised his hand, angering Dcn. Holly enough for him to say that my input would take the meeting a step back. I informed Dcn. Holly that, yes, my next words would add to the possibility of a resolution rather than cause problems. Turning my attention to Dcn. Calhoun, I tried to make sure I understood what Dcn. Holly was referring to with his previous analogy about the broken chair representing what we needed to do with Pastor Payton. Dcn. Calhoun confirmed that I was right while also adding that his analogy represented right and wrong.

I followed up with a question, “So, what is right and wrong for this situation involving getting rid of Pastor Payton.”

Instead of answering my question directly, Dcn. Calhoun threw out another analogy – this time about a wagon with no horse. Dcn. Calhoun never specified if the horse represented Pastor Payton or God. A lot of the people listening started laughing as Dcn. Calhoun made this roundabout statement that made no sense to the situation, or even expressed what he felt should be done with Pastor Payton.

Associate Minister Zachary Toliver wanted to know what the rest of the deacons felt. Dcn. Holly stopped his fellow deacons from answering by saying they expressed their feelings in the letter read at the top of the meeting.

Sister Hope Boykins questioned how Dcn. Holly could differ what’s right from wrong after not stepping down following his Driving While Intoxicated charge that occurred in July, “How can you say what’s right and wrong when your view is skewed?”

To show how other people have done worse than Dcn. Holly, Dcn. Richards singled out former Trustee Allen White, “Allen’s did a whole bunch of stuff and no one condemned him.”

Brother Allen White hastily stood up, admitting his wrongdoing and how he rectified things, “…but I did the right thing and stepped down.”

Settling down this situation before it got any more out of control failed when Dcn. Holly’s want for a vote in favor of keeping or getting rid of Pastor Payton turned into a huge shouting match that sounded like thousands of cicadas crying while being burned alive. The building was literally rumbling until Brother Amos Macklin screamed and stomped for everyone to be quiet.

After Bro. Macklin prayed some peace into this situation, the vote was cast. When Bro. Toliver started counting the hands in favor of keeping Pastor Payton (thirty-eight out of some fifty people), the Deacon Board got upset; stating that they didn’t know what was going on, what they were voting for, and how this was going to help. Before the other option (getting rid of Pastor Payton) could be brought up for a vote, Dcn. Holly called for an adjournment. Church members Sister Bertha Cooke and Sister Deborah Holly, the Deacon Board, and the Trustee Board quickly left the church grounds prior to Pastor Payton reentering the room to calm things down.  A closing prayer was headed by Pastor Payton, but things were just as unsettled as before.

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