Locked Out Of Church On Palm Sunday

Controversy Hits Sacramento-area Congregation

Monday, Apr 6, 2009  |  Updated 9:30 AM PDT
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Locked Out Of Church On Palm Sunday

KCRA

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Some people seeking to worship at New Testament Baptist Church in North Highlands were denied entry on Palm Sunday by current church leadership.

Many of the approximately 150 people left outside said their congregation has been the target of a hostile takeover, while others said it was necessary to bring in in security guards to keep some allegedly disruptive members out.

"Even if we weren't a member, we should be able to walk up in God's house," said Mertie Shelby, one of those who was denied entry.

Members kept out of services said the dispute arose when some members of the church questioned spending by the current administration.

Some members also claim that the current minister does not have the proper education to run a church, adding that a handful of deacons illegally voted him in.

A request by our sister station in Sacramento to speak to church leadership was denied.

Locked-out members said the church tried to file a restraining order against them, but a judge denied it last week.

"I really don't want to repeat some of the things that I've heard because, you know, that wouldn't be fair," said Derek Harris, a member of the church. "But I've heard some things that are very evil and just not good."

Other church members said those who were kept out have been disrupting church services.

"It's uncomfortable when you're in the middle of worship a group of individuals get up and, you know, vocalize their dislike of the changes," member Jajuan Hil said. "I think that's ... unacceptable."

But those kept out said they are upset that security guards have been brought in. They said they have hired an attorney and plan to bring legal action.

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