Trending Topics

Miss. Church Apologizes Over Barring Black Wedding

After being set upon by national press over its refusal to allow a black couple to marry, a majority white Mississippi church issued a public apology via its website.

The now married couple, Charles Wilson and Te’Andrea Henderson Wilson, had scheduled their ceremony for July 21, but were forced to change locations shortly after their rehearsal, when members of The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs objected to Rev. Stan Weatherford, the church’s pastor. Despite the church’s post seeking “forgiveness and reconciliation” from the couple and the community, the Wilsons said that the church had yet to apologize to them directly.

“I can’t believe they think they’ve apologized,” Wilson told reporters. “You put a thing in the media and say you’ve apologized? That is an insult.”

According to him, only a handful of people from the church have contacted him since the incident, speaking on their own behalves rather than that of the church. Both Charles Wilson and his wife had been regular attendees of First Baptist, having been family friends with Weatherford. However, after they held their rehearsal in the church sanctuary, Weatherford allegedly told the newlyweds that his job would be in jeopardy if they went forward with the ceremony. Ultimately, the Wilsons chose to move the proceedings to a predominantly black church in the city, with Weatherford still overseeing their vows.

“This wrong decision resulted in hurt and sadness for everyone. Both the pastor and those involved in the wedding location being changed have expressed their regrets and sorrow for their actions,” said the church’s statement.

Crystal Springs is a majority black community with a population of about 5,000. The Wilsons live 20 miles away in Jackson, but attended First Baptist due to their relationship with Weatherford. Since the incident, some of their family members continue to attend the church, but they have not returned. A racial unity rally was held on July 30 by town officials, who sought to put racial tension at ease. Though the Wilsons were in attendance, neither they nor Weatherford spoke. Publically, Weatherford denies that his job had been threatened, and says he was just trying to avoid conflict within the church by moving the wedding.

Back to top