On Monday, Aprly Kellam of Henrico County, Virginia, received a phone call she’d been expecting.
Kellam, who is pregnant and unmarried, was fired from her position at a church daycare for violating church policy. “It hurts because I’ve grown up in a Christian home and Christian church my whole life,” she told WTVR.
Kellam had been working at Staples Mill Road Baptist Church’s daycare center since September. However, a month later, her supervisor warned her she needed to marry her fiancé James Coalson or announce a wedding date by this week.
Kellam is pregnant from a previous marriage and the baby is due in April. “I want to wait so we can have all our family and friends there and have a big wedding,” Kellam said. “I just don’t want to go to the courthouse and have someone marry us.”
Pastor James Booth said he could not discuss the matter due to confidentiality laws, but added that the church does not discriminate against single women or unwed mothers. “We have a number of single women who are employed here and serve well,” he said. “We have a number of single moms who serve well.”
However, all employees are required to sign an employee handbook that includes a moral code of conduct.
“People are calling us judgmental, but that’s judgmental, to say we’re being judgmental when they don’t know us,” Booth said. “They don’t know our heart. We’re not trying to be hurtful, we’re just following our personnel handbook which is rooted in our statement of faith and our biblical beliefs.”
Kellam said she never received the employee handbook and was not aware of the policy until after she was employed. She also claimed she was upfront about her living situation with her employers.
The couple is considering legal action and struggling to understand why Kellam was fired. The Thursday before her employment was terminated, she received a glowing review and given a raise.
“The only one who can judge me is God himself,” Kellam said.