Baptist leaders urge Miss. church to reject racism
(AP) — Townspeople prayed for racial reconciliation Monday, but the black man whose wedding was rejected by a predominantly white Southern Baptist church in this small Mississippi town said he wasn't ready to let racism be swept under the rug.
"Prayer works, but only if you want it to work, only if you want it to work in your heart" said, the groom. "There are some that won't change and I accept that. But I won't stop talking about it. We're still hurt."
As 150 residents sweltered in a park beside a railroad track, their song of praise was drowned out by a southbound Canadian National freight train. The scene was today's South writ small, a place where a lot of things have changed but where the pain of the old hurts can still flare anew.
Wilson and his bride Te'Andrea were to be married at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs on July 21. But after their rehearsal two nights before, the church's pastor sought to move the service, saying some congregants didn't want two black people to get married in the orange-brick sanctuary.
The Rev.married the Wilsons as scheduled in another sanctuary, but Charles Wilson began speaking out, saying he felt betrayed by the congregation and . The pastor is personal friends with Te'Andrea's family.
Weatherford says the relocation was a request meant to avoid conflict.say it was a demand, with Weatherford saying the congregation would fire him if he married the pair in his church.
Weatherford refused to confirm that and sidestepped questions about whether he had made a mistake.
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