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103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church

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103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church

For nearly a century, 103-year-old Genora Hamm Biggs has attended the Union Grove Baptist Church in Georgia -- even working as the church's secretary for some 40 years.

But Biggs -- a parishioner since she was 11 years old -- was banned last month from attending after she disagreed with the church's pastor over his preaching style, Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reported.

On Sunday, law enforcement was called to the small, white church in Elberton, Ga., after Biggs decided to attend service anyway, according to the station. Police said there was nothing they could do because the matter is a civil dispute between Biggs and the church.

Biggs told the station that she and the current pastor of six years, Rev. Tim Mattox, have long sparred over his preaching style, which she characterizes as a "Holiness style" that she claims doesn't belong in the Baptist church.

"At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor," Biggs told the station. "We don't do that in the Baptist Church."

Biggs said tensions came to a head in early August when Mattox sent her a letter stating she could no longer attend church there "for any reason whatsoever," the station reported. 

 

"This letter is to inform you that according to the By-Laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked," read the letter, dated Aug. 2.

Biggs, meanwhile, said nothing will stop her from attending the church.

"This is my church, I love this church, and he cannot stop me from going," Biggs told the station.

Click for more from MyFoxAtlanta.com

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/15/103-year-old-georgia-woman-banned-from-her-life-long-church/?intcmp=hpbt2

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103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church

For nearly a century, 103-year-old Genora Hamm Biggs has attended the Union Grove Baptist Church in Georgia -- even working as the church's secretary for some 40 years.

But Biggs -- a parishioner since she was 11 years old -- was banned last month from attending after she disagreed with the church's pastor over his preaching style, Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reported.

On Sunday, law enforcement was called to the small, white church in Elberton, Ga., after Biggs decided to attend service anyway, according to the station. Police said there was nothing they could do because the matter is a civil dispute between Biggs and the church.

Biggs told the station that she and the current pastor of six years, Rev. Tim Mattox, have long sparred over his preaching style, which she characterizes as a "Holiness style" that she claims doesn't belong in the Baptist church.

"At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor," Biggs told the station. "We don't do that in the Baptist Church."

Biggs said tensions came to a head in early August when Mattox sent her a letter stating she could no longer attend church there "for any reason whatsoever," the station reported. 

 

"This letter is to inform you that according to the By-Laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked," read the letter, dated Aug. 2.

Biggs, meanwhile, said nothing will stop her from attending the church.

"This is my church, I love this church, and he cannot stop me from going," Biggs told the station.

Click for more from MyFoxAtlanta.com

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/15/103-year-old-georgia-woman-banned-from-her-life-long-church/?intcmp=hpbt2

Good for her.  

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Presumably her options are limited, in view of age, mobility & especially her church allegiance. 

Where are the loving Christians in the membership who know her & her faithful service over many years?

In my experience .....

A serving minister of 20 years in the church, & about 12 years ministry before that invited a local Christian teacher alongside as co-Pastor. The new man persuaded enough of the membership (using the method of Absalom [2 Sam. 15]) to dismiss the long-serving Pastor - breaking church rules - even voting to break them. Once the new man was in charge, he sold the manse, pocketing half the proceeds, sold the church hall to Sikhs, & the church to Pentecostals.  

We regrouped with a few members. Soon we were worshipping in a Gospel Hall owned by Brethren who could not support the work, & were happy to allow us to use their hall. Over time most of the old members left the usurper & joined us. 

We worshipped there for about 20 years with an attendance of around 30 Asian & English members, an Arabic speaking missionary, & an interest in a SriLanka Bible College.

Then the trustees wanted to sell, & we had no money to buy. An American led group wanted to buy the building for a church plant. In the months before the sale we baptised 6 folk, all Indian. Our last service was our 148th anniversary, dating from the founding date of the other church we were forced out of. [It started as a harvest service for farm workers who weren't happy in the CofE & continued as an independent church.] Our Pastor had by then retired, & I was sharing the leadership with others.

The American leader did not want any of the existing members to continue - in his experience "a church plant would work best with a completely fresh start, gathering folk from the immediate vicinity, not importing Christians from outside the district." 

I tried to join them for leafleting when they started - "We don't need you." I asked to come to their prayer meeting. "No." That was 5 years ago. 

We are still friends with some of them, they were worshipping with us before the take-over was proposed, & then did not come until the building was theirs. Yes - I am still friends with some, but we were very hurt. And I don't think any of their members are local, though one couple are about a mile away. 

We were not able to regroup, but the old members are still in fellowship & we have meetings from time to time, as well as personal contact. 

What about brotherly, sisterly love, & honour those who have served their Lord for many years.

It is sad - but press on - we serve our Saviour! May she know a wonderful closeness to her lord in the closing years of her life of service.

 

 

 

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The good "reverend" called the law on a church member for a civil offense?(1 Corinthians 6:1-8) A 103yo woman was a danger only to his pride and his power.

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1

Edited by heartstrings

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A great example of how those who have borne the heat of the day, and labored faithfully for the Lord, in her case for almost a century, are being laid aside by those seeking to be more 'relevant' and 'youth-oriented". Doesn't say the age of the pastor, but shame on a Baptist church for bringing in Pentecostal preachers to pastor. Unless he changed his style to appeal to a larger crowd. I see it only took ten to vote her out-one, the writing looks like a 7-year-old. And all but one a woman.

 

Isn't this the location of the Georgia Guidestone Monument? There is a wicked spirit over that place.

I looked them up. No website, but a comment on a different site-they are a transitional church, with a choir AND a band, so they are moving from traditional to contemporary. I suspect the bad press this gets them will also spur them to the inevitable removal of 'Baptist' from their name.

Edited by Ukulelemike

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No church is immune to such.

Acts 20

27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

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I notice of the 11 officer signatures on the letter only 2 are male.  Just an interesting note about women usurping church leadership positions. 

I noticed that also.

I mentioned this lady before our bible study this evening.  Our study was on  Phil. 4. When the preacher got to the following passage, he said that American pastor should take notice of this.

Phil 4:2  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3  And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

 And these 2 ladies, verse 2, reminded me of something our friend, who is a missionary in Manila. Before he returned recently, after 6 months in Scotland, to get his daughter's adoption recognized in Scotland, he spoke at our church and he asked us to pray for two men in the church who are fine Christians, but just don't get on together 

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We can hope that church will drop the Baptist name but these days many churches are choosing to keep the name and thereby the meaning of "Baptist church" is changed instead.

So much wrong going on there with a Baptist church choosing such a pastor, apparently most of the congregation going along with this, the willingness and seeming ease with which these people are willing to so poorly treat this elderly woman who has served the church for so many years in the past, to the point of kicking her out by letter and calling the police on her for attending a church service!

And, it seems mostly women running the church and yet they are willing to treat a woman who is surely each of their elders, in such a disrespectful, dishonorable manner. Shame!

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http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/10/01/ga-woman-103-welcomed-back-to-church-after-ouster-preacher-who-banned-her/

Looks like she is back in and the pastor is out.  I read replies to this thread.  We all seem to side with the 103 year old woman, but does this bother anyone?   He had been the pastor for 6 years.  How did he become pastor?  He has a different preaching style that this lady (and I) don't like.  But is this how you get rid of a pastor?  A woman stood up and led the charge to get rid of a pastor who was obviously voted in somehow, is this Biblical?  Emotionally I am with her, but Biblically I am kinda confused on the matter.  I guess I am admitting that I Biblically do not know how to get rid of a pastor of a small fellowship of believers.  Heresy being preached would probably get me to jump out of my pew and scream to get the heretic from behind the pulpit, but new age preaching style and music?  Did they not know ahead of time his preaching style?  (No I am not looking to get rid of a pastor, just a little confused)

 

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Pastors sometimes change.  Many pastors over here we anti charismatic for many years, and suddenly changed and became Charismatics.  We once had a pastor who when he was called agreed to be one of a team, but the leading elder so to speak.  He soon changed and said he was in charge.  

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I've not seen a lot about the details but from what I have read it seems as if it's possible this pastor is one of those who began at that church preaching one way but then began moving his preaching, and the church, in a different direction.

Some pastors want to move in a more Charismatic direction for the sake of attention, popularity and even earthly rewards. I don't know if that's the case with this particular pastor.

None of the articles I've read gave any details as to whether others in the church attempted to take a stand as did the 103 year old woman or not. The articles focus upon the elderly woman without mentioning if she was the only one speaking out or not.

It's possible this lady may have been the only person in the church with the courage to speak out.

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The pastor had been voted out before. Four years ago, if I remember correctly.  Yet, despite the fact that he was voted out by the congregation, he refused to leave.  

 

Even after being voted out this time, he did his best to keep the Church by getting restraining orders against Genora Hamm Biggs two biggest supporters.  If he could get them away from the Church, he could bully his way back into the pulpit.

 

there may be criminal charges brought against him for getting the restraining orders after he was voted out.

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There is a Baptist church near here that some years ago called a pastor who then tried to make major changes, I think, though not sure, of Charismatic nature. When the membership voted the changes down, the pastor left having been there six months.  He took a great number of the members with him and started a new church. One of their members came to our seniors lunch club, He told me about a year ago that that former pastor was now back as a member.  When I asked how they could possibly accept him as a member when he had done so much damage to the church in the past, he said "I am the only one who has been there long enough to remember him."  

Edited by Invicta

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The pastor had been voted out before. Four years ago, if I remember correctly.  Yet, despite the fact that he was voted out by the congregation, he refused to leave.  

 

Even after being voted out this time, he did his best to keep the Church by getting restraining orders against Genora Hamm Biggs two biggest supporters.  If he could get them away from the Church, he could bully his way back into the pulpit.

 

there may be criminal charges brought against him for getting the restraining orders after he was voted out.

If that is the case, it doesn't sound like there was much "fellowship" going on and she might have been better off having been booted from the membership.  The board might have done her a favor.  Maybe she should start looking for a "Bible believers fellowship" or a home church and get away from the building that houses this organized religious chaos (Acts 7:49). 

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Presumably her options are limited, in view of age, mobility & especially her church allegiance. 

Where are the loving Christians in the membership who know her & her faithful service over many years?*

In my experience .....

A serving minister of 20 years in the church, & about 12 years ministry before that invited a local Christian teacher alongside as co-Pastor. The new man persuaded enough of the membership (using the method of Absalom [2 Sam. 15]) to dismiss the long-serving Pastor - breaking church rules - even voting to break them. Once the new man was in charge, he sold the manse, pocketing half the proceeds, sold the church hall to Sikhs, & the church to Pentecostals.  

We regrouped with a few members. Soon we were worshipping in a Gospel Hall owned by Brethren who could not support the work, & were happy to allow us to use their hall. Over time most of the old members left the usurper & joined us. 

We worshipped there for about 20 years with an attendance of around 30 Asian & English members, an Arabic speaking missionary, & an interest in a SriLanka Bible College.

Then the trustees wanted to sell, & we had no money to buy. An American led group wanted to buy the building for a church plant. In the months before the sale we baptised 6 folk, all Indian. Our last service was our 148th anniversary, dating from the founding date of the other church we were forced out of. [It started as a harvest service for farm workers who weren't happy in the CofE & continued as an independent church.] Our Pastor had by then retired, & I was sharing the leadership with others.

The American leader did not want any of the existing members to continue - in his experience "a church plant would work best with a completely fresh start, gathering folk from the immediate vicinity, not importing Christians from outside the district." 

I tried to join them for leafleting when they started - "We don't need you." I asked to come to their prayer meeting. "No." That was 5 years ago. 

We are still friends with some of them, they were worshipping with us before the take-over was proposed, & then did not come until the building was theirs. Yes - I am still friends with some, but we were very hurt. And I don't think any of their members are local, though one couple are about a mile away. 

We were not able to regroup, but the old members are still in fellowship & we have meetings from time to time, as well as personal contact. 

What about brotherly, sisterly love, & honour those who have served their Lord for many years.

It is sad - but press on - we serve our Saviour! May she know a wonderful closeness to her lord in the closing years of her life of service.

Good post Ian. And a great question way up at the top. Just where is the love of the brethren anymore? And the watchful eye over our aged?

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In most churches today it's all about the "youth". Those who are not youth, whether middle aged or elderly are encouraged to act like teens; often a rather worldly variety.

This cultures obsession with youth, fighting getting older every step of the way, trying to look, act and talk like the youth of today in order to fit in, has spilled over into the church and churches are running with it. I've even seen fundamentalist events advertised using "hip" youth centered images, wording and graphics.

If you happen to be 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or older you are expected to either try to act like you are 16 or be the quiet old person sitting in the corner not bothering anyone or ruining the fun for the youth.

Sad, very sad. Worse yet, very unchristian.

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To follow a Biblical model as close as I can understand; that 103 year old lady to should have been given the responsibility, and the honour of teaching all those women in that church's Sunday School class. But few want to obey the word of God anymore.

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It is indeed sad how few want to obey the Word of God anymore. For many, they pick out a few pet things from the Word, live by those and feel good about it so they can ignorantly or willfully ignore the rest.

I'm thankful our pastor has paid attention to these things and taken a stand on the matter. He agrees it's important to reach the youth and the youth are (or will be) the future of the church. However, he believes most churches take this to extremes, as we've discussed above. It's important to reach the youth, but not at the expense of biblical truth and not at the expense of those others in the congregation who are older.

One area church receives all sorts of applause for their youth programs and how they allow the youth to basically take over the church for a certain number of Sundays each year. During those Sundays the youth take over everything except the actual preaching (what there is of it!) and also are allowed to change things to suit their whims during that time. The rest of the time the youth programs are filled with entertainment, fun, games, adventurous trips and more of the same, with maybe a bit of "Bible study" mixed in, mostly in the form of mentioning a verse or two and how that somehow relates to something they are doing.

They draw a large following of youth but our pastor says he won't go the "clowns and circus" route to draw the youth. As he says, the youth need Christ like all others and it's our job to present Christ to them and allow the Holy Ghost to draw them in.

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