A couple were turned away from a church where they planned to marry just one day before the wedding because they are black, they have claimed.
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson, from Jackson, Mississippi, had already sent out invitations for their wedding at the predominantly white First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs.
But a day before their nuptials, Pastor Stan Weatherford told the couple some church members were opposed to the wedding, which would have been the first between a black couple at the church.
Refused: Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson were turned away from marrying in a predominantly white church after members of the congregation complained
Instead, Weatherford performed the ceremony at another church.
'The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if he went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,' Charles Wilson told WLBT TV.
His wife Te'Andrea added: 'People were pitching a fit about us being a black couple. I didn't like it at all because I wasn't brought up to be racist. I was brought up to love and care for everybody.'
While the couple are not members of the church, Te'Andrea's father is, and her uncle is employed there. The couple attend the church regularly, they said.
Pastor Weatherford told WLBT TV he was surprised when a small number of church members told him they were opposed to the wedding taking place there.
'This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,' he said.
Wedding: Instead the couple was forced to marry at another church
Plans: The couple, who had already set the date and sent out invitations, were told they could not marry at the church just one day before their wedding
Explaining why he held the ceremony elsewhere, he added: 'I didn't want to have a controversy within the church, and I didn't want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te' Andrea.
'I didn't like it at all because I wasn't brought up to be racist. I was brought up to love and care for everybody'
Bride Te'Andrea Wilson
'I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day.'
But Charles Wilson said he believes the pastor, who he understands was in a difficult position, should have stood up for them.
He added: 'I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn't stand up.'
Church officials told WLBT they welcome people of any race and will conduct meetings on the issue.
'It's not reflective of the spirit of the Lord and Mississippi Baptists,' the Mississippi Baptist Convention executive director, the Rev. Jim Futral, said. 'It's just a step backward. ... It's a sad thing.'
Backing down: Pastor Weatherford said he moved the location of the wedding to avoid a controversy
Scene: Other congregation members at First Baptist Church said they were outraged at the opinion of a few
Congregation members and local officials have said they are disgusted by the actions of some of the members of the church.
'This is a small, small group of people who made a terrible decision,' Church member Casey Kitchens told The Clarion-Ledger.
'I'm just ashamed right now that my church would do that. I can't fathom why. How unfair. How unjust. It's just wrong.'
In the face of the reports, Mayor Sally Garland announced she will host a gathering in Crystal Springs on Monday to show that the city is united against racism.
'This is not a reflection of our city,' Garland said. 'We're not going to let this define us.'
Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson: Outrage as Mississippi church says couple can't get married there as they're black | Mail Online