Wedding preparation is stressful, I think we can all agree with that. For a Jackson, Miss., couple just days before their special day, planning went from stressful to racially painful in moments when the church pastor told them, that some members of their First Baptist Church (in Crystal Springs) objected to them getting married in their predominantly white church.
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson said it “was devastating to move their wedding to another church only days before the July 21 wedding”. Invitations and the printed program had the date and the church’s name on them. Church insiders say five or six members went to the Rev. Stan Weatherford after seeing the couple’s wedding rehearsal two days before their Saturday wedding. Their reaction has been said to stun Rev. Weatherford.
“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea. I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day,” Weatherford told WLBT-TV in Jackson. Obviously this Rev., wasn’t willing to ‘weather the storm’.
Charles Wilson said it was a huge disappointment that he and his wife couldn’t get married at the church they attended because of the color of their skin and feel like it was “blatant racial discrimination”.
Most churches require that to be married in their church, you must be parishioners. While Charles Wilson was a recent member, his (now) wife has attended for over a year, her father also attended and her uncle was a custodian there. Seems like you may be good enough to clean up the church, but your family can’t be married there.
The 150-year-old church hasn’t had any black couples married there in modern times. Rev. Weatherford married the couple at a nearby church, meaning he was run out of his own church…that is truly disgraceful.
Wilson said he understands Weatherford was caught in a difficult position and he still likes the pastor, but he also thinks the pastor should have stood up to the members who didn’t want the couple to marry in the church.
“If you’re for Christ, you can’t straddle the fence,” Wilson said of Weatherford. “He knew it was wrong.”
To be fair not every member of the congregation agreed but it doesn’t seem as if they disagreed enough to stand up to the small group of people who put pressure on the pastor. Seems that for some Mississippi Baptists, who “Welcome you to their church”…even if you are ‘prejudice’. Sadly, this is one of the things wedding planners couldn’t have possibly planned for. Even sadder, who would think this is something you have to ask about.