Church Refuses to Marry Black Couple in Mississippi
(CNN) — Hurt. Devastated. Crushed. Those are words an African-American couple used to describe how they felt when they were forced to change the venue of their wedding because of their race.
“Because of the fact that we were black, some of the members of the congregation had got upset and decided that no black couple would ever be married at that church,” Charles Wilson told CNN on Sunday night.
“All we wanted to do in the eyes of God was to be man and wife in a church that we thought we felt loved. What was wrong with that?”
Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson had planned to marry this month at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, but were asked at the last minute to move.
Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the request on behalf of some congregants who didn’t want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. He performed the ceremony at a nearby church.
“This was — had not — had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that,” Weatherford told WLBT.
“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 reportedly said.
On Sunday, some church members reacted to news of the wedding with surprise — many hadn’t known what happened to the Wilsons until they heard about it the news — and offered apologies.
“I would say ‘I’m sorry this happened and would you forgive the people who caused it? Because we’re gonna try to,'” Bob Mack told WLBT.
Talking about the group that opposed the wedding he said: “We hope we can straighten them out, you know, get them to understand what Christianity is all about because they have some misconceptions about it.”
But for Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, support from the church now might be too little, too late.
“I had dreams of having my wedding the way I wanted it, and I also dreamed of having it at the church and unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” Te’Andrea Wilson told CNN.
Her husband said if there was a time to “step up and be Christ-like,” it was before their wedding. Hindsight is 20/20.
“If it was such a minority of people, why didn’t the majority stand up and say, ‘In God’s house we don’t do this?'” said Charles Wilson.