ATHENS, Ga. - A 103-year-old Georgia woman, who said she was kicked out of her life-long church in Elberton, is causing a schism in her small church.
Genora Hamm Biggs said she and the current pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church, Rev. Tim Mattox, have disagreed over his preaching style, which Biggs characterizes as a "Holiness style" since he was hired 6 years ago. Biggs told FOX 5 News that they are a Baptist church and that type of preaching doesn't belong in her church.
"At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor. We don't do that in the Baptist Church," said Biggs.
The disagreement came to a head early in August when Rev. Mattox sent Biggs a letter stating that she could no longer attend church there "for any reason what so ever."
"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 officials revoked," the letter dated August 2nd read.
Biggs said she attended church this past Sunday as usual, but had the police called on her. Police said there was nothing they could do as this was a civil dispute between Biggs and the church.
Rev. Mattox and the several church members who signed the letter sent to Biggs could not be reached for comment Monday.
Ezell Land, another former member of the church, told FOX 5 News that he left the church after 50 years over the whole issue. He said close to 20 other members of the congregation have left over the past year because of the pastor's particular preaching style.
"You can't do that to somebody. She has been part of this church her whole life. She was even the church secretary for 40 years. That's just no good pastoring to do that," said Land.
Membership at Union Grove Baptist Church was between 30-50 people prior to the letter being sent.
Biggs has vowed that she will continue to go to her church until she is to a point to which she is physically unable.
"This is my church, I love this church, and he cannot stop me from going," said Biggs.
The Biggs family is hoping that a lawyer can look over the by-laws to see if Biggs can be removed, but the really hope that the church matriarch can return to Union Grove without retribution.