A 103-year-old Georgia woman says she has been banned from the church where she has been a member since she was 11 years old.
"I was shocked,” Genora Hamm Biggs, of Elberton, told WHNS News recently.
Biggs said she received notification in the mail via a certified letter from members of the Union Grove Baptist Church in Elberton, Georgia.
The letter, as published by WHNS, reads:
"Dear Mrs. Genora Hamm Biggs,
This letter is to inform you that according to the by-laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked. Therefore, you cannot attend Union Grove Baptist Church for any reason whatsoever. You are not to come to the property of the Union Grove Baptist Church located at 680 Pulliam Street, Elberton, Georgia 30635.
The members and officers of the Union Grove Baptist Church."
That letter — signed by the Rev. Tim Mattox, Deacon Glen Jackson and nine other members — came on Aug. 2, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
But Biggs showed up at church the next Sunday, according to the paper, and she claims someone in the church called the police. The responding officer reportedly called the incident a civil matter and took no action.
Biggs told the Banner-Herald that the problem comes down to doctrinal differences. The church has been a Baptist church throughout its history, but Mattox is a holiness preacher, according to Biggs.
“He is a holy sanctified minister or so he says,” Biggs said. “We voted him in and we didn’t know it until he was there. We are Baptists and that’s what we want to stay.”
Mattox reportedly did not respond to requests for comment from either WHNS or the Banner-Herald.
But Jackson, the church’s deacon and one of those who signed the letter, did speak to the paper and said none of the letter’s signers would be commenting on Biggs’ removal.
“The church decided not to comment because it’s all a bunch of foolishness,” he said.
But others seem to feel the longtime member is being mistreated.
Kevin Hamm, an ordained minister who was also reportedly banned from the church told the Banner-Herald he was upset when he received his letter but was even more upset to learn that Biggs had been banned.
“To disrespect a pillar and a mother of the church; how can we sit back and watch something like this go forward?” he said.
Photo credit: WHNS News