A Houston woman says one of her mother’s long-standing wishes was to have her funeral conducted at the church where she was a member for more than 50 years, but the church refused to grant that wish.
Barbara Day recently told KRIV that pastor Walter F. Houston of the city’s Fourth Missionary Baptist Church refused to conduct the service for her mother, Olivia Blair, who died recently at 93.
She said Houston told her that Blair hadn’t tithed enough in the years preceding her death.
“It was like the last insult in the world, there was nothing else that I could do for my mommy but funeralize her in the church that she loved and worshiped all of her life, even as a little girl,” Day said.
Houston declined to be interviewed on camera by KRIV but he did tell the news station that Blair’s membership in the church had lapsed nearly 10 years before she died.
That’s not true, according to Tyrone Jacques who runs the website PimpPreacher.com.
Jacques first reported Day’s story on his website. He also advocated on her behalf to get Houston to change his mind. He says that records indicate Houston buried Blair’s husband in 2007 with a full church service and membership honors — proof that the family was still in good standing with church 7 years ago.
Whether Blair was a member or not, her daughter says she was not well enough in the last two years of her life to attend services or make regular contributions to the church.
“For the last two years, my mother has been in either a nursing home or she’s been in a hospital,” she pointed out. “And the last few months, she was in a coma!”
Jacques points out that at no time during that period did any representative from the church reach out to check on Blair’s well-being.
Jacques also offered to pay to have the funeral conducted at the church but Houston declined.
“Membership has it’s privileges,” Houston reportedly told Jacques.
Day said that, after some searching, she eventually found a church to perform her mother’s funeral but she is still upset it was not done at her home church.