The late Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles’ church, Monumental Baptist Church, is well-known for its contribution to the Civil Rights Movement and for being the church he served. Today, however, the church is in the center of a controversy.
On Monday, demonstrations and prayers were held in front of the South Parkway church against the pastor, Rev. Wade Bryant.
“Monumental is a great church. We all love each other like it’s a family, but in any family you’re going to have problems. Right now we have a problem with the head of our church,” said church member Robert Lee Downey.
Three members of the church are defendants in a lawsuit brought against Monumental Baptist or Rev. Wade Bryant. The church has requested a restraining order be issued against Tom Clay Jr., Joseph Matthews, and William Gordon.
“I’ve been in church 75 years and I have never witnessed someone being kept out of the church because they disagree with what’s going on in the church,” Downey said.
In addition, according to the lawsuit, the defendants, who were acting in their capacities as trustee board members, sent Pastor Bryant a letter of termination and then had the church’s locks changed after making an illegal attempt to terminate him.
Pastor Bryant is allegedly not welcome to return to Monumental Baptist as a guest or in any other capacity, and any attempt to enter the church will be considered trespassing, leading to your forced removal by police authorities and the filing of charges.
Sunday, church members say the pastor showed up with security.
“I feel like if the pastor was not wrong, he wouldn’t have gotten people to try to block us from coming into church,” said church member Richard Williams.
“He was there when Rev. Kyles was there and we were going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but as time progressed he got worse and the members started leaving,” Williams said. “The leadership (Bryant) wouldn’t communicate with us. Taxation without representation has started wars and that’s what we go. We’re paying our money, but we got no say so,” Downey said.
Several Monumental Baptist Church members said they expect the case to be in Chancery Court on May 5.
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