Members of an Alabama church protested Sunday for their pastor to step down amid accusations of financial mismanagement, saying the congregation effectively voted to oust him.
Some members of Greater Saint John Baptist Church in Birmingham took to the front of the church Sunday morning to protest Senior Pastor Nathanial Brooks.
Protesters allege that Brooks, who has been the church’s pastor for five years, has engaged in misconduct with church finances. According to Birmingham-based 6 WBRC, a vote took place in April among church members outside of the church to oust the pastor.
However, Brooks denied allegations of financial mismanagement and has refused to step down.
“We have an affidavit on record where the full leadership that's still standing still supports this pastor,” Brooks told the news outlet.
Brooks claims that questionable accounting practices already occurred when he was first hired at Greater Saint John.
He argues that he implemented changes — including to personnel — to stop the questionable practices.
“Whenever someone wants to discredit your name, they have to bring up some type of scandal or money,” Brooks said. “There was no money taken away from the church. I’m not on any type of bank account. ... I can’t even get into the safe.”
Outside the church, protesters held up signs, some of which read: “We believe in God’s guidance,” “Brooks: Deceptions, Allegations, Misconduct” and “Brooks Terminated!!! April 21, 2021.”
Protesters contend that Brooks had made changes to the bylaws.
“We have gotten together as a congregation and collectively as a majority and terminated the pastor,” congregant Carla Carter told WBRC as she participated in the protest.
Brooks maintains that his future at the church depends on the deacons and the church board.
Although some church members want Brooks gone, other church members don’t want Brooks to leave and appreciate what he has done for the congregation.
“He has built this church up when it was torn down — financially, spiritually,” Diandra Cohill said. “He brought back a lot of things that were missing here.”
Arthur Hardy, who attended Greater Saint John for over 60 years, said he hopes both sides will have a meeting to get “some of these things straightened out.” He added that the division is hurting the church.
The Christian Post reached out to Greater Saint John Baptist Church for comment on the protest. A statement was not received by press time.
According to the church's website, Brooks was ordained in 2007. He previously served at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Herndon, Virginia. He also served as a youth and young adult minister at Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.