(Orange, Texas)

February 14, 2013

Congregation votes to remove pastor

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Members of St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church, 1704 N. 14th Street, have questions and they would like answers.

Trustee President and Deacon Charles Perry, an Army retiree, was aware the church is in a state of disrepair.

“The roof needs to be fixed and an air-conditioning unit needs to be replaced,” Perry said.

Last summer, the members of the church elected a board of Trustees because they had been operating without one. The congregation selected ten people and elected Perry as trustee president.

“I asked for a list of the repairs needed to the building, salaries paid and the bills,” Perry said. “We cannot control what comes in, but we can try to control what goes out.”

According to members attending the 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting, there are bills the church has not paid in 24 months.

Perry said he asked for the financial records to ensure they were staying compliant with the IRS and the 501(c)(3).

The IRS website states to be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.

Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations.

Perry repeatedly requested copies of the financial records and was repeatedly given excuses.

Young, according to Perry, first said the trustee board was not mature enough to handle the job and they needed training. Three months of training led to the need for spiritual training.

“I asked how long the spiritual training was going to last,” Perry said. “I was told indefinitely. That also told me it was a stalling tactic.”

Perry said he was told by the Deacon Chairman who was over the finances, that the trustee board would never see the financial records.

The church trustee board monitors and control all financial reports. It presents the number of members, debts, amount of income or donations, value of property and assets as well as other financial holdings of the church to the congregation on a regular basis. The trustee board meets periodically to review all the financial statements of the church such as the banking statements.

Perry was given paperwork that informed him he was excommunicated from the church. When he tried to attend church Sunday, the police were called to have him removed.

“He (Young) said I was disrupting the services,” Perry said. “I went outside and waited for the police when I was told they were called. How could I disrupt the service when this took place outside?”

Perry said he spoke with the police department and a judge who told him that the paperwork was not legal.

Perry also said that he was asked by the police to not step on the church property Wednesday night.

Extra police patrols were apparent during the start of the meeting.

Young, who is on probation for social security fraud, was voted out by the congregation during the meeting.

“We need to take back the church and give it back to the people,” Perry said.

“No one is trying to hurt Pastor. We love the pastor as a person,” Reverend  Frank Ganz said. “We are just asking about the paperwork. We are going to continue praying for self, on the situation, and for the pastor. But something is not kosher.”

Members of the church said Young said that every member of the church had spoken to him in confidence and that if they told on him, he would tell them.

“Who says that from a pulpit? He said it during the sermon,” Perry said.

Young was asked to discuss the financial situation at the church.

Young said that it was a private matter and not for media attention.

“Some people are not happy,” Young said. “The media does not need to be on the property.”

Perry said he stayed on the sidewalk across the street because he did not want the situation to escalate.

“I do not want anyone to get hurt,” Perry said. “I just wanted to see the financial records.”