Schism Ch. 4 – Pt. 2: Truth Search

Last Time: A call meeting organized and headed by the Deacon Board began with the questioning of Pastor Cyrus Payton’s ability to lead the church. When the floor was opened for comments, I let my feelings be known like never before.


October 29, 2011


I decided to address the rumors going around that the Deacon Board wanted to oust Pastor Cyrus Payton today, and how police would be called to prevent Pastor Payton from stepping on the church’s ground – a rumor I vocally proclaimed was a scare tactic.

I had a few simple questions. What is the truth? Who is Pastor Payton really that a lot of Pastor Payton supports aren’t seeing? These queries were aimed at everyone who thought Pastor Payton needed to go.

Before the previous questions could be answered, I quickly asked the Deacon Board who was next in line if Pastor Payton was voted out. According to the bylaws – as I noted – the Associate Minister (Brother Zachary Toliver in this case) would take the place of a pastor if that pastor was voted out or leaves. I iterated that Associate Minister Toliver would probably leave if Pastor Payton went, “…just like a lot of people have stated over the last few weeks about themselves.”

“So,” I said to the Deacon Board’s direction, “if there is someone else next in line, have they been working alongside certain people to get rid of Pastor Payton?”

Deacon Dewey Holly rose from his seat to me cut off by saying I was going a little too far in what was supposed to be accomplished today. Dcn. Holly reminded everyone that a vote for something as important as whether the pastor stayed or went couldn’t occur at a call meeting.

Turning to his fellow deacons, Dcn. Holly asked them, “What direction are we going?”

Dcn. Holly told everyone in attendance that we don’t need to know some of the stuff that has gone on between the deacons and the pastor before calling the congregation shortsighted and uninformed, “I love Pastor Payton, but I’m looking at everything overall. The fact is we don’t need to get rid of Pastor Payton, but his leadership skills aren’t made for (the church). He goes on to make changes to schedules without the Deacon Board’s consent and starts rumors of non-existent cliques.”

After Dcn. Holly asked what would happen if the pastor left, and if the church leadership roles would fall on the congregation’s shoulders, I reiterated that the bylaws state either the Associative Minister or the Deacon Board would lead. Deacons Holly and Roscoe Calhoun tried to correct me by saying weren’t in the bylaws.

With a copy of the bylaws in my possession, I revealed that I was telling the truth. As members, “Aw’ed!” around me, I attempted to read a highlighted portion justifying my stance when Dcn. Holly interrupted me again to admit the Deacon Board would step up as heads of the church if and when Pastor Payton was dismissed.

Dcn. Holly suggested everyone think before they speak for the simple fact a lot of people who speak don’t know what’s going on. Still standing, I reminded Dcn. Holly that the truth is all I wanted.

When I was able to read the bylaws that stated the assistant/associate minister would replace the leaving pastor, Dcn. Calhoun declared, “We don’t have an ‘assistant’ minister, so none of that matters! And with all respect, Brother Jake, I just wanna say that you is askin’ for the truth. I guarantee if you sit down, you’ll hear some of it.”

“Well,” I replied, “I would be sitting down right now if I wasn’t interrupted by Deacon Holly. Speaking of Deacon Holly – if we’re going by the bylaws, that vote we did at the last Business Meeting is null and void since that vote wasn’t announced in advanced; as per the bylaws.”

Sister Ester Harris – who was sitting in front of me – commented, “That’s what we’re here about today.”

I concluded by asking everyone to look deep within themselves and truly answer the questions before them.

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