Parishioners called 'unbecoming Christians' hold service after lockout

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - For the first time in months, a church congregation's members held service in their sanctuary after being locked out over a money dispute with their pastor.

Channel 2's Rachel Stockman spoke to members at Welcome All Baptist Church in Woodstock about the resolution that brought them together.

The pastor, who members said locked them out, is no longer at the church. Now they have a new pastor, Roy Smith.

"This is the day the Lord has made. He says rejoice and be exceedingly glad in it," Smith said. It's the Lord's house. Everyone wants to come and be with us," Smith said.

Stockman saw attendees singing and rejoicing Sunday. Members said for the first time in months, everyone is truly welcomed.

"We just thank God that everybody prayed for us, and we are back and the problem has been resolved and I thank God for it," said member Laura Smith.

Stockman visited the church on Easter Sunday, when Welcome All's church gates were locked and there was a 'no trespassing' sign on the door.

Parishioners had to hold a makeshift service in the parking lot.

The pastor at the time, Willard Hamrick, and his son, said the members were kicked out for being unbecoming Christians.

But the members said after taking court action, a mediator ruled in their favor this week.

"It's wonderful. This is our homecoming day. We are at home now," said member Sally Goff.

"It is wonderful to be back in the church today," Smith said.

"Join on in with us and we are going to see someone saved. That's what it's all about," Smith said.

Stockman tried calling the former pastor's family to get reaction, but the person who answered hung up the phone.

Members said they will be having a benefit later this month to try to raise money and get the church back on its feet.