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Mar 25, 2009 1:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Pastor ousted, plans to sue

Mar 25, 2009 1:52 PM

Congregants of Southampton Village’s First Baptist Church have ousted their pastor, whose methods, they say, stirred unrest and drove away some church members.

The Reverend Andre Mosley was removed by a majority vote about two months ago, a move he claims was made in violation of the church bylaws and done in a “kangaroo court.” Now, the deposed reverend said he plans to sue the church.

On Tuesday, he accused the head of the church’s deacon board of circulating a letter to undermine his authority and said lies about him were spread.

“He basically got mad because he couldn’t control me,” Rev. Mosley said of the deacon, Archie Seymore.

Mr. Seymore declined to comment on the matter, saying he and the church preferred to put it behind them. “We’re finished with it now,” he said Monday.

Reached again on Tuesday and asked specifically about the threat of a lawsuit, Mr. Seymore still refused to comment, saying only that “we at First Baptist are doing fine,” and that Rev. Mosley’s potential lawsuit is Rev. Mosley’s business.

When Rev. Mosley was First Baptist’s pastor, it was he who was accused of violating bylaws. He was also accused of failing to disclose details about church finances, refusing to hold church meetings and firing the church’s longtime organist, Louise Barnard, who died soon after, and then refusing to allow Ms. Barnard’s brother-in-law, who is also ordained, to conduct the funeral at First Baptist.

Today, First Baptist is without a pastor and is relying on visiting preachers.

Gerald Martin, a deacon at First Baptist and an outspoken critic of Rev. Mosley, said finding a new pastor won’t happen right away. “It’s going to take some time,” he said, “because things like that are guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Mr. Martin said that though not everyone who left First Baptist over their dissatisfaction with Rev. Mosley has returned, healing has begun for the congregation. “A lot of members have come back, and it’s really kind of back to normal,” Mr. Martin said.

Mr. Martin was kicked off the church’s board of trustees and the deacon board while Rev. Mosley was the pastor. He was reinstated to the deacon board since Rev. Mosley was removed and is back to teaching Sunday school as well. He said that Sunday school was discontinued while Rev. Mosley was there, a decision that upset many congregants.

Some members of the church were reportedly upset to see Rev. Mosley go. “One deacon left, because he thought his calling was to follow Pastor Mosley,” Mr. Martin said.

“There are a lot of good things that happened in the church, despite the negative things people say,” Rev. Mosley said. He said that when he was appointed pastor more than a year ago, First Baptist had just 12 regular churchgoers, each more than 70 years old. The membership grew when he was in the pulpit, he said. “I’d say 80 to 85 percent of the people that came to the church came to the church because I was there.”

Rev. Mosley said some who started coming to the church were from Southampton, while others were people he knew before joining First Baptist. Bringing in outsiders was one of the criticisms Mr. Martin and others leveled against Rev. Mosley.

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Perhaps the Rev. Mosley should take a moment and read the Bible.

1 Corinthians 6:1-7

1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?

2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

4 Therefore, if you have ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Mar 25, 09 10:21 AM
By bayview (160), Southampton on Mar 26, 09 7:18 AM