Pastor of family church allegedly loaded gun, threatened to kill wife in home
New Prospect Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio, remained tightlipped about the fate of its pastor, the Rev. Charles Ross, Thursday, days after his wife reported to police that he loaded a gun and threatened to kill her inside their home in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Court records reviewed by The Christian Post show that at about 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 4, Ross “did cause the belief of serious physical harm or imminent death to his live-in wife and mother of his children when he loaded a firearm and stated ‘is it going to end,’ while he held the firearm in front of the victim.”
Ross, who has three children with his wife, Yolonda, was charged with aggravated menacing and domestic violence. When he appeared before a judge on Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty and was ordered to stay away from his wife.
It remained unclear Thursday if Ross is still the leader at New Prospect Baptist Church as calls to the church, as well as his home, went unanswered. The church's Facebook account and website have also been suspended.
A family member of the pastor’s wife, who asked not to be identified, told ABC 13 that in light of the charges against Ross, he shouldn't remain in the pulpit.
“I’m the one that went up and talk to the deacons. You’re supposed to protect her, not cause harm to her. You’re threatening to harm. That’s a problem,” the family member told ABC 13.
“Yes, we all make mistakes, but there’s no way it should be where you can do this and then lie to people saying you didn’t do it. It’s unacceptable,” the family member added.
In a message shared on its YouTube channel, New Prospect Church is described as a ministry that “tends to the needs of the whole family.”
“It is the mission of our ministry to see families thrive in all aspects of life. Furthermore, it is our heartfelt desire that through our ministry lives are changed, people are healed, and families are made stronger,” the church said.
Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, the second-largest U.S. provider of property and casualty insurance to Christian churches and related ministries, warns in its advice to churches that domestic violence can also lead to church violence. The company also urged churches to invest in domestic violence training.
“Domestic violence takes many forms, but physical violence is among the most common. Physical violence affects 1 in 5 women and results in more than 1,500 deaths annually in the U.S.,” the company said. “What’s more, violence in the home can result in violence at church. One of the deadliest examples is the Sutherland Springs tragedy, where the suspect’s second wife and mother-in-law attended.”
The Sutherland Springs tragedy occurred in November 2017 when a mentally unstable shooter massacred 26 people inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs before fatally shooting himself.
Pastor Ross, who was released on his own recognizance on Tuesday, will next appear in court for a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 26.