Church Members Say the Building and Their Money Was ‘Stolen’ From Them in Consolidation Process

MABSCOTT, W.Va (WOAY) – Hillcrest Baptist Church is a small community church located in Mabscott. On Sunday, August 4, the church reportedly voted to consolidate with Stanaford Road Baptist Church in Stanaford. However, the members who voted “no” believe that their church and their money was stolen from them. 

When the members voted “no” and realized they had lost the vote and the church would consolidate, they said at that time they believed the people who would want to leave could leave and the others could stay and find new leadership. That was not the case when they said they went to the church on the following Tuesday and the locks had been changed and there were “No Trespassing” signs on the doors. 

Some members are now speaking out saying the church building has been stolen from them as well over $13,000 of the church’s money. It was a decision proposed by new leadership, Pastor Rick Martin, who is now a pastor at Stanaford Road. 

“We’re just ordinary people that just want our church back, our money and an apology,” Delores Lowe said. “An apology would be fine and let us go on with our lives”

The remaining members feel all of this belongs to them and was illegally taken from their community.

“The people that come to church here are good people and we’re just hurt because we don’t have that anymore. Our church is gone. They tried to kill our church,” Billie Billings said. 

We reached out to one of the pastors at Stanaford Road Baptist Church and Pastor Lyell Zickafoose said the majority at Hillcrest voted to consolidate into Stanaford. He said according to the church’s constitution, they were allowed to close the building and consolidate the funds based on the popular vote.

Lowe and Billings are not convinced the voting process was legitimate either saying some were allowed to vote by phone and some were not and that the ballot box was taken outside for a period of time. 

We will continue following this story.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.