A Florida church sent a delinquency notice to a new member to remind her that worshippers were expected to pay $1,000 per year in fees or face possible removal and won’t be able to participate in activities, Raw Story reported.
Candace Petterson, a single mother with limited funds, claims she just started attending Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. She thought everything was going well and her family was enjoying her newfound church home. Imagine her surprise when she received a letter from the church stating that she owes $1,000. And if she doesn’t pay up, they will remove her as a church member.
The single mother stated that she received what appeared to be a delinquency notice from the church asking her to pay $50 a month along with other fees listed to remain a member in good standing, allowing her to vote on church matters and participate in church activities.
The church, which has been open for more than 100 years, asked the single mother to pay a yearly $250 annual fee and $150 Mount Moriah day fee. The annual fees added to the monthly $50 totaled nearly $1,000 a year in fees.
“What church charges you to help pay off what they’re going through? I’m not there for that.”
Apparently, Petterson asked what the fees would cover and was told that it paid for all the maintenance associated with running the church. Candace had a problem with paying the church’s bills and felt that tithing to the establishment should be a personal choice, not a requirement.
The letter Petterson received also stated that the children, even her 11-year-old daughter, were expected to pay 5 dollars a month to the church as well as two $15 annual fees installments.
Candace explained that the letter stated that if a member went more than three months without paying their dues, they would be delinquent and could “face consequences.”
“In order to not be removed from the church roll, your attention to this matter [is] greatly appreciated,” the letter stated.
The single mother wasn’t sure if she was singled out with the letter and decided to make a bold statement by posting a copy of the letter on the church’s Facebook page. A member in “good standing” scolded Petterson for posting the letter on a public forum like social media.
“I love my church and my pastor,” said another member Bonnie Maxwell.
“I know people have their opinions regarding the letter that was sent out to this young lady and put over social media. I don’t understand why so much negativity about paying a monthly assessment of $50 a month, that you already knew about. If you go to a club or a bar whatever you wish to call it every weekend, you are paying about $10 or maybe more to get in the door and then paying again for drinks.”
Maxwell added that Christians have an obligation to “be obedient” and “pay tithes to the church.”
To remain a tax-deductible organization, the church cannot require members to pay fees to stay an active participant — tithes must be entirely voluntary.
Petterson decided that it wasn’t worth it for her and her daughter and decided to look for another church to call home.
“It’s like you say to me, if you want to be a member of this church, you need to pay this. If you want to find God, it don’t say anything like that in the Bible.”
ABC Action News shared that most of the congregation’s members knew about the fees and gladly paid it. They felt it was their responsibility to help pay off the church’s debt.
How do you feel about the letter sent to the church member advising them that she needs to pay up or be removed?
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