Schism Ch. 4 – Pt. 3: Youth

Last Time:  The latest Call Meeting continued as I concluded my questioning to the Deacon Board in a search for answers.


October 29, 2011


My father took a stand to present the Deacon Board with a complaint. Standing with piece of paper, my father read his letter that called for the Deacon Board to be reprimanded for allowing Deacon Dewey Holly to stay as Chairman of the Deacon Board after attaining a Driving While Intoxicated charge in July. Dcn. Holly rose from his seat again, telling my father that he could not continue reading his letter; and it needed to be brought up during a separate call meeting. Dcn. Holly informed everyone that the Deacon Board had nothing to do with the agenda subject of “Church members thoughts on church status.”

With the support of several people who vocalized to the Deacon Board how vague “Church members thoughts on church status,” my father was able to finish reading his letter after Dcn. Holly willingly sat down.

My father’s letter gained hardly any reaction until he read the part where it stated that the Deacon Board allowing Dcn. Holly to stay disrespected the, “…good name of (the church),” and, “…did not fulfill the deacons’ obligation to the church above relationships and friends.”

My father handed his letter around for anyone who wanted to sign in agreement with this statement.

Sister Lisa Calhoun was the next to speak; asking for anyone who had a problem with Pastor Cyrus Payton to show themselves rather than having a divide of pro and anti-Pastor Payton members going back and for. The first to step up in the “Anti-Pastor Payton” camp was none other than Sister Bertha Cooke.

Sis. Cooke emphasized her vision being on the “spiritual level” before telling us in a very frustrated tone, “Y’all can all just be quiet,” when people started mumbling.

Sis. Cooke restarted her speech with the focus moving from her spirituality to the youth of the church, and Pastor Payton’s supposed lack of concern over the church’s youngest members. Sis. Cooke had an example for her reasoning. A few months ago, Sis. Cooke’s granddaughter decided she wanted to join a church. Four churches were in the running, including Sis. Cooke’s church. When Sis. Cooke asked her granddaughter about her decision, the granddaughter said she wasn’t joining her grandmother’s church, but another that Sis. Cooke couldn’t remember the name of.

“Why?” Sis. Cooke asked her granddaughter. “Why did you choose that church?”

Sis. Cooke’s granddaughter answered, “The preacher. He talks to us. He even said there is something special in us.”

That was all Sis. Cooke needed to hear to know that Pastor Payton wasn’t doing his job with the youth. But Sis. Cooke had another story about the confrontation between herself and the family Payton about her letter she’d written. Sis. Cooke claimed that her letter came from God to tell Pastor Payton how they should be there for the youth. According to Sis. Cooke, while the Paytons said they didn’t think helping the youth was their responsibility, Pastor Payton promised to be at a few Youth Bible Study sessions. Sis Cooke heard secondhand that Pastor Payton didn’t attend any Youth Bible Study meeting; thus showing Pastor Payton as someone who doesn’t live up to his word.

Sis. Cooke was also upset that Pastor Payton didn’t come to any of the church picnics, even though as recently as last June, Pastor Payton stood at the pulpit and remarked how much fun he had playing volleyball with the members at the church’s summer picnic.

But missing the 2011 summer picnic angered Sis. Cooke – who claimed Pastor Payton used the excuse of visiting his legally-blind mother-in-law and breast cancer afflicted mother as ways to avoid attending.

Sis. Cooke called out Pastor Payton for not repenting when he visibly hurt Sister Sandra Jacobs and Sister. Coreen Richards. Sis. Cooke never explained how Pastor Payton hurt them.

Sis. Cooke also blamed those defending Pastor Payton for the church’s problems, exclaiming, “…y’all need a self-examination!”

Sis. Cooke said that Pastor Payton told her in private that he’d leave the church before the congregation split, but didn’t when that time came. To add insult to injury, at  Business Meeting following their talk, Pastor Payton told everyone listening about the talk he had with Sis. Cooke.

Sis. Cooke immediately switched subjects, stating that a petition passed around to rid the church of Sister Charlotte Travis for calling Pastor Payton a liar and how God would strike him down during the previous Call Meeting almost a year ago was a disgrace. Sis. Cooke promised to pray that Pastor Payton would become the man of God he claims to be. Sis. Cooke also declared she’d pray for us to seek God before reminding us that she loved Pastor Payton; but things would be better off without him.

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