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Sacrilege, extortion at Baptist church

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have been a member of a prominent uptown Baptist church for the past 25 years. Nine members of my family, including two minors, are also members of the said church.

My niece, who recently passed away, has been a Baptist all her life. She was, however, not a member of my church, but was a member of a smaller Baptist church which was within walking distance from my church.

I requested to have my niece's funeral at my church, as her church was a little bit cramped for space.

Little did I know that the request for a change of venue would take me into a whole hostile environment, and so after many back-and-forth refusals to move the venue, I was eventually charged $50,000 to stage the funeral at my church, with an extra $10,000 for the organist.

It was as if my church was saying, 'Who dared you to ask for the change of venue? You are not even a favourite in the church', and so consequently, I was punished severely for my request. A clear case of a vendetta.

HANDS OFF

Heads of both churches took a hands-off attitude to the funeral. They locked horns with me. I experienced a power surge of prejudice. Neither church supported me. The pastor of my niece's church refused to give her the tribute she deserved after all of her hard work in the mission field, both in Haiti and locally, on the basis that the funeral would not take place at his church.

I now ask, what is the role of the church in my bereavement? Where is their compassion, their conscience, humility, and love as people of God?

Renting the house of God for a few hours at such an exorbitant price is sacrilege. It's tantamount to extortion, and I know that some non-members get the use of the church for free.

Instead of helping me, the church blatantly blocked and withheld the choir from the service.

What a shame! I now say to the head of my church, can one so rich in love be so poor in compassion? I want my story to be remembered mainly in the Baptist fraternity as a story of courage.

DISAPPOINTED BAPTIST

elvena @cwjamaica.com

Kingston