Schism Ch. 3 – Pt. 2: Devil Riding

Last Time: The third Business Meeting of 2011 began with the cloud of Deacon Dewey Holly’s car accident, arrest, and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge hanging over the members’ heads.


October 8, 2011


Sister Gloria Henderson didn’t believe the church’s finances were in bad of shape as the committee was leading us to think; stating that the committee was sitting on the money instead of using it.

Chairman of the Deacon Board Dewey “Doughy” Holly slowly rose to say that he looks at the church money like he looks at his own bank account, “Just ‘cause it’s in the bank doesn’t mean I’m going to go spend it all up.”

After Dcn. Holly’s statement, someone yelled from the back, “At least you got something!”

When Sis. Henderson initiated a verbal tennis game with Dcn. Holly about using the church’s money, it took Pastor Cyrus Payton, Sister Bertha Cooke and Deacon Samuel Travis to calm Sis. Henderson.

As Sis. Henderson returned to her seat, Dcn. Holly informed us that it takes over $50,000 a year to run the church.

Sister Ester Harris decided to make her presence known by saying the church has been, “…spluuuuurgin’ too much,” to make any headway when it comes to building church capital.

Most ignored Sis. Harris’ statement; with people like Sister Josephine Elliot still processing and openly questioning Sis. Cooke’s statement about how much people were giving in their church offerings since Sis. Cooke isn’t a member of the Finance Committee anymore. Sis. Cooke explained that since she used to work on the committee, she knew the giving habits of the congregation.

Sis. Elliot quickly replied, “But that was a long time ago. Unless you have someone on the inside telling you everything, you can’t say in your heart you know the finances are bad because the church members aren’t giving enough.”

As Dcn. Holly, Dcn. Travis, and Trustee Sinclair Millard tried to disprove Sis. Elliot’s theory of a, “…lack of confidentiality in the Finance Committee,” Sis. Cooke could be heard saying, “It’s just a figure of speech I use. It don’t mean nothin’.”

Sis. Cooke’s comment about the congregation using money to buy food rather than help the church and others from earlier also frustrated several members.

Sister Audrey Thornton informed everyone that during the last few times food had been served at the church, the money came out of the cooks’ pockets and not from the church’s bank account.

Seeing the spirit of dissension rising, Assistant Pastor Zachary Toliver decided to use the Word to help settle this possible situation. Bro. Toliver read a scripture from the book of John that read God is pleased with those who do right with the church’s money; helping those who can’t help themselves.

Scowling, Dcn. Travis became infuriated with Bro. Toliver’s reading; shouting, “How dare you read that scripture knowing what’s going on right now?”

A look of confusion and hurt shown on Bro. Toliver’s face as he tried to explain himself. Sadly for Bro. Toliver, he wasn’t allowed to defend his actions due to Sis. Cooke, Dcn. Holly’s wife Sister Deborah Holly, and Sis. Harris yelled that “we” (the church members not a part of the Finance Committee) don’t understand how the money is allocated and shouldn’t try to make decisions.

After Sis. Henderson asked the Lord to show her understanding in regards to the church’s finances, Bro. Toliver took the chance to speak about what he read, “The point I was trying to make was the Lord is happy to see people working hard to utilize His money properly. I meant no harm. I was hoping to encourage the Finance Committee, not insult it.”

For the first time since the meeting began, Deacon Roscoe Calhoun talked to us by exclaiming, “Don’t y’all see that the Devil is having a field day with us right now? How can we give anyone spiritual advice when we argue like this? We need to start esteeming one another instead of just ourselves!”

Looking around the room, Dcn. Calhoun wanted us to know this church wasn’t alone in carrying a burden, “(A nearby church) is having problems too, because they lettin’ the Devil ride them. We gotta stop lettin’ the Devil ride us! Don’t let the Devil ride you anymo’!”

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