Members of the Southern Acres Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, has unanimously voted to dismiss their leader, Pastor Cameron McDonald, who has been accused of financial abuse of power. This decision was reached after several months of internal squabbling and court battles.
A member of the church, named Chance Staley, who was at one point blocked from attending his own church for speaking out against the abuse, told the Herald Leader that nearly 200 members of the church voted in agreement to give McDonald the boot.
A reporter said the members who voted to remove McDonald on Sunday, however, were disfellowshipped by the pastor and their resolution has no legal authority to make him step down.
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Staley insisted that the will of the congregation will stand.
“The people have spoken,” he said. “Democracy has really gotten to play out here. I think it’s a very important lesson that you have to stand up to injustice.”
The vote came after two Southern Acres Christian Church members alleged in a lawsuit last November that McDonald mismanaged church funds. Concerned church members James Keogh and Chad Martin filed the lawsuit to prevent McDonald and his wife, Erica, from spending church money or making any real estate transfers. They alleged that he concentrated power and financial authority among himself, his wife and another staffer.
McDonald, who took over the church in 2006, was allegedly able to acquire power by dissolving a larger governing board, altering the church’s operating rules and getting rid of the need for church wide approval votes on changes.