Pastor Andrew Rollinson, seen here arriving Sunday at Morningstar Baptist Church, says those who fired him in April didn't follow church bylaws. (Photo: Morgan McCloy)
Tensions ran high at a north Charlotte church Sunday morning as members protested Pastor Andrew Rollinson's leadership, saying he was fired nearly three months ago but refuses to leave.
about a dozen people chanted outside Morningstar Baptist Church at 5623 Phillips St., off West Sugar Creek Road in the Derita area.
has no intention of leaving the church.
said the members who fired him did not follow church bylaws, and therefore the decision is invalid.
did not say how the members violated the bylaws.
"I'm the pastor.
I will be the pastor until people want to follow the bylaws," he said.
"This is a group of irate individuals who want what they want and are not able to get it according to the bylaws, and they became irate."
Several Mecklenburg County
sheriff's deputies remained parked outside the church for hours Sunday.
At least twice, opposing sides of the protest argued face to face before services.
"I'm the pastor," Rollinson
told a group of protesters.
"No, you're not.
You've been dismissed," one responded.
Some of the church's 200 members say they fired Rollinson
in April but that he
refuses to leave.
"Due to his character that is not becoming of a pastor, his dishonesty, controlling demeanor, using the pulpit to disrespect his members ... we are removing Pastor Andrew J. Rollinson from his duties effective immediately," says the April 28 letter signed by five church leaders.
"May God continue to bless you and your family and we hate things had to end this way."
was hired three years ago, some at the church say he
has given himself more power and used it to ban members who don't agree with him.
Some also say Rollinson
has given himself more control over church finances.
Deputies told Rollinson
that after talking with the Sheriff's Office attorney, they determined he
was not trespassing.
"We love our pastor Andrew J. Rollinson and the leadership he brings," the letter said.