ELBERTON, Ga. - A 103-year-old woman said her church recently revoked her membership after she said she cannot attend services “for any reason whatsoever.”
“I was unhappy and shocked,” said Genora Hamm Biggs, who received a letter regarding her expulsion. “I joined the church when I was 11 years old.”
Biggs, who was a member of Union Grove Baptist Church in Elberton, told the Augusta Chronicle that she went back to the church the next Sunday, despite the letter, and someone called the police on her.
The responding officer took no action, calling it a civil matter. The pastor then dismissed the service. The lights were turned off and Biggs, a member for 92 years, was left sitting on the pew of a darkened sanctuary.
Biggs, a retired school teacher who taught first grade for 40 years in Elbert County, plans to be back in the pews again this Sunday.
The core of the problem, according to Biggs, is that Union Grove Baptist has been a Baptist church throughout its history.
However, she described the Rev. Tim Mattox of Athens as a holiness preacher with a different doctrine.
“He is a holy sanctified minister, or so he says. We voted him in and we didn’t know it until he was there. We are Baptists and that’s what we want to stay,” Biggs said.
Current Union Grove Deacon Glen Jackson of Elberton said Thursday that those who signed the letter will not comment on Biggs’ removal.
“The church decided not to comment because it’s all a bunch of foolishness,” he said.
Asked about her nearly lifelong membership in the church, Jackson said, “It don’t mean nothing.”
The Union Grove letter still stings, according to Biggs. “Any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked,” Biggs is told in the letter.
But the centenarian still considers herself a member.
“One woman talking to me this morning told me to stick to my guns,” she said.