Kentucky churchgoer tells of deep hurt after interracial marriage ban
Stella Harville not welcome at Gulnare Freewill baptist church after ex-pastor votes to ban couples of different races
A small baptist church in eastern Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from joining the congregation and from taking part in all church functions other than funerals.
The vote to ostracise couples of different races was held at the Gulnare Freewill baptist church last Sunday. It has prompted a bitter dispute in the local Pike County and thrown up hatreds and antagonisms that had been hidden beneath the surface of the community for years.
The vote was held on a motion brought by the former pastor of the church, Melvin Thompson. He proposed that people in interracial marriages should not be "received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions - with the exception being funerals".
His motion added that it "was not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve".
Thompson's move originated from a church service in June attended by Stella Harville, aged 24, and her black fiance Ticha Chikuni, 29. Harville, a keen pianist, accompanied Chikuni as he sang the hymn I Surrender All at the service. ...