A church in White County, Tennessee is on its heels after a letter to one of its parishioners went viral online.
In late February, a parishioner posted a letter that she had received from three church elders. It lamented that she had not attended church in a couple weeks and was living with a man she had not married.
West Sparta Church of Christ sent the letter saying that if their member did not repent immediately, she would be ostracized from the church.
Since then, making contact with the church leaders has proven difficult. Their Facebook page has come down, and their phone line listed on Google is disconnected.
Online, some have supported the church elders, others wrote, “rather judgmental toward others.”
All churches are not the same, and all denominations are certainly not uniform. Reverend and state representative Harold Love says it’s natural for people to question their faith during tough times.
“You naturally will have people say what is going on, where is God in this situation, how do we make it together,” Love said. “That’s why I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the faith community to step up and do what the faith community can do which is unite people.”
Pew Research lists Tennessee has one of the most religious states with 51% saying they attend church services at least once per week. 70% pray daily.
“People are still searching,” Love explained. “People have always searched for answers to life’s questions. Faith has often times provided those answers. There are some times though that your faith can be shaken so much it can take some time to come back around.”
One woman’s example is Sparta is proof of what Love believes: a little patience can restore what is lost.
FOX 17 News could not find the recipient of the letter, so we are unsure if she has returned to West Sparta Church of Christ where services continue.