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Entries in Interracial (2)

Monday
Dec052011

Kentucky Pastor Nullifies Church Ban on Interracial Couples

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GULNARE, Ky.) -- The pastor at a small Kentucky church says he has nullified a vote by parishioners that banned interracial couples from the church.

"As far as I'm concerned and the church is concerned, this case will be closed as of tomorrow," Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church pastor Stacy Stepp said on Saturday, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.  "We will...get back on the right track and continue to win souls for the Lord."

Stepp, who said he opposed the vote, declared it null and void after approaching the Sandy Valley Conference of Free Will Baptists, which consists of 13 Pike County churches.

The conference met on Saturday and released a statement saying it had reviewed the situation and concluded that the vote was of no effect because it, "was not carried out in accordance with" Robert's Rules of Order, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, and would therefore require a change in the church bylaws.

The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church voted nine to six on Nov. 27 to ban interracial couples from church services or functions, with the exception of funerals.

Stella Harville, 24, and her fiance Ticha Chikuni, 28, are the couple that prompted the church's actions.  Harville is white and Chikuni is black.  The couple met at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where both were students, and they plan to marry in July 2012.

Harville is in graduate school in Indiana and Chikuni is working at Georgetown College, but when the couple visits Harville's parents in Pike County, Ky., they usually go to church with her parents, Cathy and Dean Harville.

But after a service in June where Stella Harville and Chikuni participated by singing and playing the piano for a hymn, the family was shocked when then-pastor Melvin Thompson approached them after the service and told Chikuni he could not sing anymore.

The next week, Cathy and Dean Harville met with Thompson and were that members of the congregation had said they would walk out if Chikuni sang again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GULNARE, Ky.) -- A small Appalachian church in Kentucky is being called racist for passing a vote that banned interracial couples.

The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church voted nine to six on Sunday to ban interracial couples from church services or functions, with the exception of funerals.

Stella Harville, 24, and her fiance Ticha Chikuni, 28, are the couple that prompted the church's actions. Harville is white and Chikuni is black.  The couple met at Georgetown College in Kentucky, where both went to school, and are scheduled to marry in July 2012.

Harville is in graduate school in Indiana and Chikuni is working at Georgetown College, but when the couple visits Harville's parents in Pike County, Ky., they usually go to church with her parents, Cathy and Dean Harville.

But after a service in June where Stella Harville and Chikuni participated by singing and playing the piano for a hymn, the family was shocked when then-pastor Melvin Thompson approached them after the service and told Chikuni he could not sing anymore.

The next week, Cathy and Dean Harville met with Thompson and were shocked to hear their pastor say that members of the congregation had said they would walk out if Chikuni sang again.  The parents wanted to know exactly who had a problem with their future son-in-law.

"'Me, for one,'" Cathy Harville said that Thompson replied.  She said he added, "'The best thing [Stella] can do is take him back where she found him.'"

Thompson has since been replaced with a new pastor who said that everyone was welcome at the church and the Harville family said the issue was dropped.  But at a recent meeting, Thompson, who is still a member of the congregation, brought up the issue again and asked that it be discussed at a business meeting among the church's men.

Three men voted to bring the issue before the church for a vote, and two voted against it, so the matter went before the congregation this past Sunday.  Ultimately, nine people voted for the motion and six voted against it, and interracial couples were banned.

Other churches in the community have condemned the decision.

This weekend, the matter will be up for discussion again at the Sandy Valley Conference for Freewill Baptist Churches.  After it is discussed, it may go before the congregation again on Sunday for a vote to repeal the decision.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio