An eastern Kentucky church under a firestorm of criticism since members voted to bar mixed-race couples from joining the congregation overturned that decision Sunday, saying it welcomes all believers.
Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, told The Associated Press that the vote by nine people last week was declared null and void after it was determined that new bylaws can't run contrary to local, state or national laws.
The letter tells Evans and her fiance, who is white, to leave their Jeffersonville neighborhood."This is 2017," she said.
"Now it's like I have to watch my every step, because I don't know who's watching me or who's making judgment on me."The letter includes racial slurs and states: "We wish we didn't have to see the race mixing on a daily basis" and "I'm being the mouthpiece of the whole neighborhood."Neighbors say they're disgusted by the letter and that it doesn't represent the neighborhood's views."It's absolutely not what this neighborhood is like," Nathan Powell said. If I could say anything to that couple, I'd say those people don't know what they're talking about."Evans appreciates the support of her neighbors and has a few words for the anonymous sender."I'm sorry that my relationship makes you uncomfortable, but I'm happy," she said.
"And I wish you would find help."Police say the sender could face charges, such as intimidation.
Anyone with information should call Jeffersonville Police at (812) 218-TIPS.
Harville said he was approached in August by Melvin Thompson, the church member who crafted the resolution to bar mixed-race couples, and was told that his daughter and her boyfriend were no longer allowed to sing at the church.
Thompson has said he is not racist and called the matter an "internal affair."Stepp said the Sandy Valley Conference of Free Will Baptists declared the vote on Thompson's resolution null and void during a meeting on Saturday.