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Pastor allegedly ravages church after being rejected by members

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, January 21, 2013    

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A pastor of a St Catherine church, angered after its members rejected him over their displeasure with his handling of the church's funds and his general attitude towards them, has been accused of carrying out an early morning assault on the church yesterday, destroying several pieces of equipment in the process.

Members of the 50-year-old Mount Faith Zion Church, located in Old Harbour Bay, turned up for service to a ransacked church with missing chairs; damaged equipment, including drum sets; broken chandeliers; fans; plates; and pans; among other items. The floor was splintered with pieces of broken bottles. A Bible was also burnt in the churchyard.

Police were called to the area yesterday after tensions mounted as angry church members began their search for the minister, who had by then taken a holy retreat.

The crowd at the church grew as the news spread.

"How can you destroy the house of God? This is a midnight cry! Surely he will have to answer to God for his actions," cried Blondine Guyah, a church member.

Guyah and others were also in disbelief at the burning of the Bible.

Wilfred Baker, a senior deacon of the church, said he was moved to tears when he saw the damage.

"When mi come a church this morning and see how the man break up bottle and mash up equipment in the church, it moved me to tears," said Baker.

As he spoke, angry residents stood at the front of the church and vowed that they would leave no stones unturned in their attempts to find the pastor and hand him over to the police.

"This is the first time that something like this ever happen in Old Harbour. chimed in Merletta Baker, another member.

The distraught woman had to be consoled as she voiced her anger.

"I have been a member of this church for close to 30 years and this has left me in shock," said Baker.

"The pastor all move out the seat dem from the church," Baker alleged. "Him have to go! Him can't come back here! This is slackness."

Anieta Vernon, another pastor at the church and who is based overseas, said she was disturbed by the incident.

"I am really shocked over this incident," said the female pastor.

Another church member was equally vocal.

"The pastor has been with us for four years, but in recent times we not pleased with his actions, so we told him he had to go because," the woman said.

"Last time we hear him say him get money to fix door in the church. Up until now, nothing; and we don't hear about the money," alleged another church member.

Yesterday, while church members reported on the incident and said they would allow the police to carry out their investigation, there were other residents from the community who threatened to take matters into their own hands.

"This is the first time mi ever see something like this. How can a person destroy the house of God? A beat dem should a beat him," said a man, claiming that that he grew up in the community.

Up until late yesterday, the police said they knew nothing of the pastor's whereabouts.

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