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Oct 28, 2008 1:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Congregants at odds with new pastor

Oct 28, 2008 1:49 PM

Southampton Village’s First Baptist Church is in turmoil this 
week, with some congregants upset with the church’s new pastor, accusing him of driving out church elders 
and locals in favor of new members from outside the Southampton community.

Critics have also accused the 
pastor, the Reverend Andre Mosley, of regularly violating the church’s bylaws, failing to disclose details about church finances and failing to hold church meetings.

From the time when Rev. Mosley was appointed pastor about a year ago, there were objections from church members who questioned his background and worried how he would fit in with the Southampton church community.

“The older people, we could see through him that he wasn’t right for our church,” Gorham Dozier, a member of the church for more than two decades, said this week at his Hillcrest Terrace home.

Mr. Dozier said he was an usher at First Baptist Church for many years. He said when he arrived one Sunday several months ago, Deacon Archie Seymore told him he was no longer a member of the church and needed to be reinstated before he could be an usher again.

Mr. Dozier said he was not given an explanation for having his membership rescinded. “I was going to church every Sunday,” he said.

Gerald Martin, an ordained deacon, said that Mr. Seymore refused to vet Rev. Mosley before he was installed as pastor, and the reverend’s appointment violated First Baptist Church’s bylaws. “According to the law, everything was done wrong,” Mr. Martin said, adding that he abstained from voting when the church trustees voted to appoint the new pastor.

Mr. Seymore and Rev. Mosley both declined to comment on the dispute. “I don’t want to have a war of words with people,” Rev. Mosley said. “That’s just not something that I want to be involved in.”

Mr. Martin said he wrote letters to the congregation to raise his concerns, then received a letter himself saying he was off the church’s deacon board. Next came a letter informing him he was off the board of trustees, he said.

Mr. Dozier and Mr. Martin said one of their biggest gripes with the new pastor is that the funeral of the church’s longtime organist, Louise Barnard, was not held at the church.

According to Ms. Barnard’s family members, it was her wishes that her brother-in-law, the Reverend Albert Brown, a former pastor at First Baptist Church, officiate at her funeral. Her family members said the family held the funeral at Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton because Rev. Mosley was resistant to allowing another pastor in his pulpit.

“This gentlemen would not allow her family to have the funeral at the only church she had ever known her whole life,” said Rick Brown, Ms. Barnard’s nephew and Rev. Brown’s son.

Ms. Barnard, who died on August 26, was an organist at First Baptist Church for 64 years, starting when she was 13 years old.

Mr. Brown, who grew up in Southampton and now lives in Atlanta, said that when Rev. Mosley took over as pastor, he removed Ms. Barnard as organist.

“He immediately basically kicked her to the curb,” Mr. Brown said. He later added, “As soon as this happened, her health just went downhill, and my Aunt Louise died of a broken heart.” Not having the funeral at First Baptist Church added insult to injury for the family, Mr. Brown said.

“He has a certain loyal few that surround him, and he basically has alienated everybody else,” Mr. Brown said of Rev. Mosley.

Mr. Dozier said that people in the community are up in arms over Rev. Mosley but do not know what to do about it. “If God lets me hit the lotto, they’re in trouble, because I’m going to get four or five lawyers,” he said.

Mr. Martin said he still attends mass at First Baptist Church from time to time, partially to show Rev. Mosley he is around. “I’m letting him know, ‘You’re not getting rid of me,’” he said.

Bonnie Cannon, a former member of First Baptist Church and a Southampton Village trustee, said that earlier this year Mr. Seymore abruptly told her she was no longer a member of the church. Ms. Cannon said she had been regularly tithing to the church, but the 
deacon told her she lost her membership because she missed three consecutive communions. She said she 
was never aware that was a rule before, and has never seen a bylaw to that effect.

Ms. Cannon said she was offered the opportunity to be reinstated to the church but opted instead to join Friendship Baptist Church in Flanders.

Mary Trafton, the former First Baptist Church financial secretary, said she left the position and the church because she did not agree with changes Rev. Mosley wanted, such as no longer publishing how much money the church collected, and from who, in the weekly church bulletin.

“I really did what I thought was best for the people, and he didn’t like that,” said Ms. Trafton, who instead started attending Community Baptist Church on Plant Street in the village.

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Wow!! This Pastor calls himself a Christian??? He had better find himself another vocation!! What a terrible thing to do to a grieving family. Who is paying his salary?? Perhaps they better end it and say good bye!!!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Oct 29, 08 8:20 PM
Perhaps this new young Pastor needs a refresher course...

1 Corithians 13

1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Oct 30, 08 7:46 PM