Tying the knot should be a festive, happy time for all involved, but this certainly wasn’t the case for Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson (pictured). The Jackson, Miss., Baptist church, First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, that the couple selected to hold their wedding banned them from doing so because the White congregation members allegedly refused, according to WAFB.
The predominantly White First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs is a church the Wilsons reportedly attend regularly, even though they are not members.
After selecting the church for their nuptials — and sending out their wedding invitations — the Wilsons were informed just 24 hours before they were scheduled to say, “I do,” that they could not get married at the sanctuary.
The pastor of First Baptist Church, Dr. Stan Weatherford, reportedly delivered the blow to the couple. “The church congregation had decided no Blacks could be married at that church,” the disappointed groom, Charles, told WAFB. In fact, Weatherford was allegedly threatened that if he married them, he would be voted out of the church.
According to Te’Andrea, the congregants created quite a raucous about the matter, “He [Weatherford] had people in the sanctuary that were pitching a fit about us being a Black couple. I didn’t like it at all, because I wasn’t brought up to be racist; I was brought up to love and care for everybody,” the young woman told WAFB.
Dr. Weatherford, who admits that he, too, was taken for a loop at the outcry, says that the opposition to the wedding actually came from a small group of naysayers, “This [having a Black couple marry] had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that.
“I was prepared to go ahead and do the wedding here just like it was planned, and just like we agreed to,” said Weatherford. “I was just looking for an opportunity to be able to address a need within our congregation and at the same time minister to them.”
Weatherford, who ended up performing the Wilson’s ceremony at another nearby church, adds, “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,” he said.
Even though Charles and Te’Andrea had their wedding ceremony held at another “house of God,” the couple is still reeling from the opposition to their wedding. “I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves ‘Christians’ and didn’t stand up,” said Charles.
The recent controversy seems to have prompted First Baptist to “change their minds,” with officials now claiming that their church doors are open to people of all races; there have supposedly been a number of meetings on how to move forward, should a racial bias situation ever occur again.