An Alabama pastor who was terminated from his church says he was asked by deacons not to invite black people to their congregation.
Pastor Jonathan Greer has been removed from Mt. Sterling Baptist Church after 31 people unanimously voted him out, WTOK reported. The termination comes after Greer says he was told by two deacons that he could not invite back people to their Vacation Bible School.
"There was pushback about where the types of children we were bringing in [came from], and I was asked to not invite black children to VBS," Greer told WTOK.
Freddie Moore, a deacon at the church, declined to do an on-camera interview, but claimed the termination was not due to a race issue. Moore said Greer wouldn’t work with other deacons or visit certain members of the congregation.
But Greer says Moore was one of the deacons who made the unusual request.
"This was a particular deacon that asked me, and ultimately, two deacons that had asked me not to invite black people," Greer said.
Moore said anyone is welcome to their church. Greer said that’s not quite the case.
"What they really mean is that someone can wander in off the street and they won't stop them, but they specifically asked me, explicitly, not to invite black people,” Greer explained. “I tried to communicate with them that that's not consistent with Christianity.”
Greer said the deacons wanted him to resign quietly. Instead, Greer decided to discuss racism during his Sunday sermon.
"I wanted the church to know that this is not consistent with the gospel,” Greer added. “This is not consistent with God's word that we honor and give dignity to all people. That's what the Bible teaches us, and all people are worthy and in need of the gospel, and racism denies that to a certain amount of people.”
Greer, who has been with Mt. Sterling Baptist Church for a year and six months, said he believes not everyone at the church agrees with the two deacons.
Mt. Sterling Baptist Church’s membership is all white, but the church is located in a predominately black neighborhood, according to SBC Voices.