A Pastor at a church in Michigan had a warrant issued for his arrest stemming from accusations that he embezzled over $100,000 from church coffers.
Prosecutors in Kent County authorized the warrant for Rev. Arthur Pearson Sr., 38, of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids. The church filed a civil lawsuit in the 17th Circuit Court against Rev. Pearson on Dec. 30, court records show. The decision to file a lawsuit was not unanimous and those in the parish are caught on either side of a widening rift within the church membership.
"We all make mistakes. He made a mistake," longtime member Connie McGee, said according to WZZM. "He did wrong. I don't uphold his wrong, but I am a person to forgive."
Veruynca Williams, who directs the church's children's ministries, said she is eager to move past this incident and moving forward. "I would like to see us unified and being about our Father's business which is evangelism and discipleship. It's building the kingdom of God," she said, according to WoodTV.com. Williams did not state if she did or did not support Pearson.
But that may not be enough as some in the church are devastated when they heard the news surrounding their Pastor. "He has destroyed our church in 3 and a half years," said Donna Martin, 58, who has attended services at the church since she was a little girl. "He's been misusing funds ever since he's been here," according to WoodTV.com in Grand Rapids.
Local media reports that Pearson's brother-in-law, Jerry Ashford who is a lawyer, will represent Pearson if and when a civil lawsuit is brought against him. Ashford is a member of Pilgrim Rest and believes that Pearson should not be charged criminally.
"There's no evidence," Ashford said. "I believe that he has a contract that allows him housing expenses, business expenses, and a salary and a bonus."
Ashford said he plans to file a motion to allow Pearson to enter church grounds which he is currently banned from. Even though a warrant was issued police have not arrested Pearson. Sources said he is expected to turn himself in early this week.
Requests for comment from The Christian Post were not immediately returned.