Schism Ch. 3 – Pt. 6: The Vote

Last Time: Pastor Cyrus Payton revealed that Deacon Dewey Holly was given a chance to rectify the wrong in attaining a Driving While Intoxicated charge, but refused.


October 8, 2011


Deacon Bill Richards took his stand to say the congregation was trying to ridicule and persecute Deacon Dewey Holly without thinking about how much these questions were hurting Dcn. Holly’s morale. Switching gears, Dcn. Richards admitted that he was one of the deacons talking in barbershops about Pastor Payton as Sister Josephine Elliot verbally noted earlier. According to Dcn. Richards, the barbershop attendees asked what was going on in the church and he answered as best he could.

Dcn. Richards admitted, “If y’all knew half the stuff I did, you’d want me to step down. Shoot, you’d probably have to do the same for the whole Deacon Board.”

Dcn. Richards’ focus changed to the members’ defense of exiled ex-deacon Cedric Hart during his dismissal by explaining, “You know what? I don’t wanna badmouth Cedric Hart, but that man came to church drunk … several times.”

When Dcn. Richards sat down, Sister Selena Davidson proclaimed, “We say we growing. We not growing,” before leaving the room.

My father explained his stance on Dcn. Holly stepping down by saying that this part of the meeting wasn’t about punishing Dcn. Holly or having a lack of forgiveness. Instead, this was a reminder that Dcn. Holly staying on as Chairman of the Deacon Board showed how much lack of respect Dcn. Holly and the Deacon Board had for their positions and, more importantly, the outside perception that had already been ruined thanks to Dcn. Holly not stepping down soon after the arrest.

Members started asking Pastor Payton about his feelings on the entire situation involving Dcn. Holly. Pastor Payton said that he talked with Dcn. Holly shortly after the accident.

During the conversation between Pastor Payton and Dcn. Holly, Pastor Payton offered Dcn. Holly a three-step process for rectification: 1. Step down; 2. Restoration through mediation with the Lord; 3. Reconciliation with the members of the church.

Pastor Payton said that Dcn. Holly opted to not take Pastor Payton on his offer.

In Pastor Payton’s opinion, it was up to the members to rectify this problem in the Deacon Board.

Dcn. Holly’s wife Sister Deborah Holly said the decision of whether or not Dcn. Holly should stay a Deacon Board member was up to the deacons themselves following a sit-down long discussion. Most of the members at this Business Meeting liked Sis. Holly’s idea.

I suggested that before or after an upcoming church service, all the church members – who have been given at least a two week notice of what’s going to happen – vote on if Dcn. Holly should stay or go as a deacon. Then, after at least a six-month period, Dcn. Holly could reapply to join the board and the church members would be allowed vote to on Dcn. Holly’s reinstatement in Deacon Board. Many members booed and loudly proclaimed that they hated my idea.

My father expressed his belief that Dcn. Holly should step down so he can recollect himself. If Dcn. Holly refused to step down, the church members would make the decision to keep Dcn. Holly on the Deacon Board.

Sister Bertha Cooke asked if Pastor Payton’s three-step program was an option. Sis. Elliot reminded Sis. Cooke that if Dcn. Holly didn’t want to utilize Pastor Payton’s offer then, he wouldn’t now.

Following several minutes of back and forth arguing over the options, Dcn. Holly and his wife left after Dcn. Holly told everyone listening that it didn’t matter what the vote was because he knew he was doing right by his life and family.

Dcn. Travis jumped from his seat, telling everyone the only way to settle this was to vote right now – should Dcn. Holly stay or go?

Brother Albert Coleman seconded the motion for a vote right now. By a show of hands, the members currently in the room voted on whether or not Dcn. Holly should stay as a Deacon Board member.

With Assistant Minister Zachary Tolvier and Sis. Bertha Cooke counting, the final tally was twenty-two to eight in favor of Dcn. Holly staying as Chairman of the Deacon Board. When the announcement was made, the Dcn. Board, Sis. Cooke and several others made a dash for the door. The members that honored the agenda stayed back to conclude the meeting with a prayer.



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