Schism Ch. 2 – Pt. 6: Bad Report

Last Time: Division between members started to rise as arguments against and in favor of Mrs. Payton, bringing forth the explainations of more problems in the church.


December 4th, 2010


After complementing his wife for calling out Pastor Cyrus Payton on his unrighteous ways, Deacon Samuel Travis voiced his displeasure about the church’s attendance dropping off; blaming the Payton family was the cause. Dcn. Travis claimed Mrs. Payton speeches about how women dressed made a lot of women leave.

Dcn. Travis even quoted a former, unidentified deacon who said Pastor Payton was okay, “…but that wife is destruction.”

Dcn. Travis had a piece of paper with some information he’d like to reveal. Dcn. Travis’ paper was of research the church gathered during their investigation period of Pastor Payton. According to Pastor Payton’s teacher – Bishop Campbell – Payton was a charismatic showman that tried to turn Campbell’s congregation against him when Payton felt it was time to take over Campbell’s church. Dcn. Travis continued, stating that Pastor Payton ran off to do prison ministries before dubbing himself “Elder Payton” so he could begin his “own religion.” When the “Elder Payton” idea failed, Payton returned to his original church while waiting, “…for that call from (this church),” as Dcn. Travis put it.

When Dcn. Travis concluded his statement, I stood up to ask who’d heard the contents of Dcn. Travis’ letter before. Most of the older members raised their hands to confirm they had.

Stunned by this information, I had to wonder out loud, “If all of you knew about his past, and what kind of person he is/was, then what does that say about you for voting him in?”

Dcn. Travis smiled before exclaiming, “Exactly!”

Seeing the confused look on my face about him agreeing with my question, Dcn. Travis explained himself, “It was out of the kindness of our hearts that we gave him a chance.”

Dcn. Travis went on a long tirade about how good people the church members were to allow Cyrus Payton to become pastor after attaining such disparaging information. Still standing to ask my next question, I waited until Dcn. Travis noticed I had something else to say.

While focusing on Dcn. Travis, I said, “In that letter you read is a person that’s corrupt and power hungry. Did you all see any of those characteristics in him then and are they still there, or has Pastor Payton gotten better as a person since you learned of his past?”

Dcn. Travis seemed a little startled by my inquiry and decided to audibly opt out, “Since I can’t speak for everyone, and I can’t judge anyone … I won’t answer your question.”

To get an answer out of Dcn. Travis, I rephrased my question, “Well then, for you, Deacon Travis, did you see any of those characteristics in Pastor Payton? And has he changed from that person or do you did see him in the same way as that report depicts him?”

Dcn. Travis said that it was his Godly love that made him ignore the report because, “…it’s just hearsay.”

Deacon Bill Richards tried to make us understand why he felt the report had no bearings on Pastor Payton being voted in as pastor, “I don’t look at a man from what someone else has said. The person I saw those weeks before we hired him was a man of God.”

In Pastor Payton’s hands was another piece of paper sent to the church by his wife. This letter informed us that Mrs. Payton was stepping down from her position as deaconess and would just sit in the congregation when it’s time for the service’s sermon.

In defense of his name, Pastor Payton asked if the deacons contacted his current pastor. The Deacon Board confirmed they had, but couldn’t arrange a meeting. Unfortunately for the deacons, pastors talk, and Pastor Payton knew that his current pastor tried to set up an evening meeting with the Deacon Board months ago, but the deacons declined. Dcn. Travis returned to his seat as Pastor Payton explained the reason for Payton’s falling out with Bishop Campbell was due to Campbell’s money laundering. According to Pastor Payton, when Mr. and Mrs. Payton confronted Campbell, Bishop Campbell turned on them – not the other way around as written in the report.

Trustee Sinclair Millard jumped from his seat to make sure everyone knew that he and Dcn. Travis were the ones who contacted Pastor Payton and drilled him about what kind of man Payton was.

Pastor Payton smiled as Tr. Millard blamed the congregation for voting Payton in immediately after hearing the letter, “I told them to think about the letter for thirty days before making a vote, but they just couldn’t wait.”

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