For me and a hand full of other members of St. John's Baptist Church (one who is deceased), this issue began in 2008 when an initial lawsuit was filed through an attorney who didn't have the fortitude to continue with representation as has Attorney Hopkins. Weak and inexperienced leaders and members failed to investigate claims that were presented to them in black and white. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, this issue is about honesty, integrity, ethics and trust. If people can't trust the word of a religious leader, who CAN they trust?
The psychological and spiritual warfare over the past 4+ years has been phenomenal. This experience has destroyed relationships between people who are sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, neighbors, members of the same organizations, and many who were once good friends. I have watched the destruction of a church that Milton E. Proby helped build, and that thrived for decades. I continue to hear members say, "Pastor Sutton put us out of our church." Pastor Sutton is but one mortal man. According to the Church bylaws, membership can only be withdrawn by a vote of the congregation. Sutton merely did what the leaders and members of St John's allowed and empowered him to do. I did not stop going to St. John's because I was put out of church, I stopped going because I no longer had a pastor and leaders with the faith and integrity I value in spiritual leaders.
The wounds are deep. Although I am optimistic that those who have participated in the destruction of St. John's Baptist Church, or silently watched others destroy the Church, will get their due diligence, I am not as optimistic that St. John's Baptist Church can completely recover from the breakdown. Many members have left and either attend or have joined other churches. We must learn from our mistakes. An informed and involved congregation; strong, ethical, experienced, and proven leadership; and time are imperative to the survival, revitalization and success of our church. Continue to keep us in your daily prayers. And, when the time comes, encourage and support us as we rebuild and revitalize our church family.
Kathleen Foster, Member
St. John's Baptist Church
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