A Georgia church has been expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention after “multiple” acts of racism, CBS News is reporting.
Last week, the Christian denomination’s media division tweeted its notice that it had severed ties with the Raleigh White Baptist Church congregation in Albany, Georgia. NOTE: according to Huffington Post, the name “Raleigh White” refers to a a Baptist pastor, and was not an indication that the congregation was a “whites-only” church.
“The [Executive Committee] has voted, on behalf of the SBC, to withdraw fellowship from Raleigh White Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., based on ‘clear evidence’ of racial discrimination.”
The expulsion from the denomination comes after a regional association of Southern Baptist congregations did the same.
According to The Tennessean, the issue stemmed from two congregations sharing the same building space. Beginning in 2015, the majority-white congregation began sharing space with a majority-black congregation, the New Seasons Church, which had outgrown its own building.
However, it wasn’t long before the relationship between the two congregations soured, thanks to some members of the white congregation being less than accommodating to their black peers. According to Huffington Post, the members of the Raleigh White congregation continually complained about their black peers using the church’s facilities, including its restrooms, gym, fellowship hall and even parking lot. Some Raleigh White congregants even refused to speak to the New Seasons members.
A March 2018 incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
On that date, the New Seasons congregation had scheduled a special “homecoming” event. Unfortunately, they’d inadvertently scheduled it during Raleigh White’s worship time.
Members of Raleigh White Baptist Church won't be allowed back in to the group until they "repent" for racism. https://t.co/tAhikZodIc
— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) June 16, 2018
When attendees started showing up at the church, they were turned away at the door and allegedly told to go wait in their cars. One New Seasons congregant, who asked to use the restroom, was told to use the bathroom at a convenience store down the road.
A regional Southern Baptist association, the Mallary Baptist Association, tried to intervene, but “got nowhere” with the Raleigh White leadership. In April, the Association expelled Raleigh White from fellowship.
“The reason for this action involved the church’s un-Christian attitudes and acts toward another associational church. These attitudes and acts were racially-motivated. Thus they do not reflect the values and mission of the Mallary Baptist Association.”
And last week, the Southern Baptist Convention did the same thing, completely severing its association with the Georgia congregation.
The decision means that Raleigh White congregants are not allowed to participate in any of the Convention’s activities unless and until the group “repents and takes steps to restore fellowship.”
Representatives from Raleigh White Baptist Church have not returned calls for comment from the media.