A pastor at a Baptist church in Henrico County, Virginia, is defending his church’s decision to fire an unmarried mother from her job at a church day care for not getting married quickly enough, WTVR (Richmond) is reporting.
Apryl Kellam had been working at the Staples Mill Road Baptist Church since September, 2014. Apryl, who has children from previous relationships and is expecting a child with her current fiancé, James Coalson, says that, beginning in October, her bosses began warning her that she would need to get married soon in order to be in line with church policy.
“It hurts because I’ve grown up in a Christian home and Christian church my whole life.”
She was eventually given a deadline: get married, or at least announce a wedding date, by the end of last week. She was not willing to commit to getting married under pressure, however, according to Fox News.
“I want to wait so we can have all our family and friends there and have a big wedding. I just don’t want to go to the courthouse and have someone marry us.”
The church’s pastor, James Booth, complained to WTVR this week that it’s been difficult for him to tell his side of the story in the media, due to confidentiality laws and Apryl’s firing being a personnel matter.
“People are calling us judgmental, but that’s judgmental, to say we’re being judgmental when they don’t know us. They don’t know our heart. We’re not trying to be hurtful, we’re just following our personnel handbook which is rooted in our statement of faith and our biblical beliefs.”
Booth rejects the notion that the church’s policies are discriminatory to single women, and single moms in particular.
“We have a number of single women who are employed here and serve well. We have a number of single moms who serve well.”
Booth also claims that when April took the job at the church’s day care, she, like all church employees, was given a copy of the church’s moral conduct policy, a claim which Apryl denies. She says she was honest about her living situation when she interviewed for the job.
This is not the first case this week of a church’s moral stance creating publicity issues for the church. Earlier this week, friends and family of a Colorado woman protested New Life Ministries in Lakewood for canceling a funeral — at the last minute — because the deceased was a lesbian, according to this Inquisitr report.
The unwed mom and her fiancé are considering taking legal action against the church.
[Image courtesy of: WTVR]