A Dallas Church is Having Trouble Firing Its Allegedly Lying, Thieving, Pot-Smoking Pastor

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The trustees of 92-year-old Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas realized they'd made a mistake almost as soon as they'd hired Calvin Wayne Thomas to tend their flock. His first sin was a minor one, coming during an early meeting to discuss church business that Thomas presided over like a dictator, refusing to open the floor to discussion

Things went downhill from there.

Next, trustees say, came the nepotism, which was blatant and unapologetic. Soon after that meeting, Thomas installed his son-and-law and another family member as trustees; both had verbally committed to joining the church just days before. Then, he shut out the church's finance committee, eventually deposing its chairman. Then, trustees learned of his arrest for marijuana possession. This had happened during a traffic stop in August 2012, a month after trustees voted to hire him but two months before he was officially installed. (In the arrest report, police list his occupation as "bus driver.")

The case was dismissed after Thomas agreed to pay a fine and perform community service, but trustees were miffed that he neglected to mention it. Had they known, they probably would have chosen a different pastor since "this type of criminal offense presents a morality concern compounded with your failure to disclosure (sic) this information to the Board and the Church," the church's attorney would later write.

Worst of all, Thomas just wasn't a very good minister. Of the first dozen Sundays in 2013, he preached just six and never performed a baptism despite a long list of candidates. Meanwhile, attendance plummeted.

Trustees had reached their breaking point by March 30, when they drafted a letter describing their grievances. They quote at length from a handful of New Testament scriptures outlining proper conduct for church leaders before issuing their indictment: "Rev. Thomas we feel that you have failed to properly lead and represent Morning Star according to GOD'S WORD."

They called Thomas to a meeting on April 2 to discuss his future with the church. It didn't go well. "The meeting became unruly due to the conduct of Thomas and others that he brought to attend the meeting with him," trustees wrote in a resolution ending Thomas' tenure as Morning Star's pastor. "As a result, the Dallas police department called and several officers arrived at the church."

But that was far from the end of things. Thomas brushed off the attempts to fire him and instead, trustees say, went to the Bank of America in an attempt to gain exclusive control over the church's bank accounts. Then, when trustees beat him to the punch by withdrawing the money for storage in a safe deposit box, Thomas filed a police report saying they had stolen the money.

Church leaders doubled down on their efforts to rid themselves of Thomas. First, they voted to change the locks on the church. (Thomas, it seems, beat them to this, changing the locks and the church's alarm code). Then, they hired an attorney to draw up a letter of termination. It was delivered by an off-duty Dallas police officer.

Thomas read the letter but ignored it, prompting a sternly worded followup three days later, complete with references to the Texas Penal Code. "There is no need to defame my client," he writes, before explaining that Thomas really is fired:

It was reported that you have stated that you are still the Pastor because you were not served a copy of the letter by a Constable. Please understand that you have been provided incorrect information regarding 'service' of the letter. The termination of your employment from Morning Star Baptist Church does not involve a court case, so therefore service by a Constable is not a relevant issue because it is not required as a matter of law in these circumstances.

Alas, the second try proved no more effective than the first, so Morning Star is now taking Thomas to court. They filed a lawsuit last week in Dallas County and won a restraining order preventing Thomas from stepping on church property or making himself out to be their pastor. They will ask a jury for unspecified damages.

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35 comments
ladyee915
ladyee915

My husband(now deceased) was a member, as well as his family, for years.  I just don't think the business of the church should be in the media.  The Pastor should have just stepped down if the people really didn't want him.  As the wife of a now deceased Pastor, I know that is what my husband would have done.  If God is the head and God placed him then only God could move him.  Maybe that is the reason he is still there(if he is).  If you haven't yet Rev. Thomas please step down and allow that church to go on. God may have another plan for your life.I find it terrible for a church of that age to have to be subject to such nonsense. God bless you Morning Star.  I am praying for you.


barbara888
barbara888

This is nuts if you ask me.  They are doing a show on this on blog talk radio on the show called church folk.  They are saying that the pastor is a stalker and called the police on them.  When I said it was foolish to go to war over a church, the host said that they weren't.


Then when I said well calling the cops on the pastor was what I meant, the host blocked me from the chatroom and said I had to listen to the whole show before commenting.  Since I had just gotten in, I looked it up and found this.  I believe they are the ones who are acting nuts.  I have seen them do it before on their show.  They think they speak for God.


LIke I said, I think it is foolish to be fighting over a church building.  If they even have a restraining order against the pastor now, I don't know why they are on the radio still ranting and raving about it.  


I think some people use the church as just a platform for starting wars and getting attention. They are very hard people to get along with, I will tell you that.

baduserexperience
baduserexperience

Jackson, Miss:

"Police fatally shot the son of a church deacon on Sunday morning after they were called to a church when members of the congregation started arguing over the firing of a pastor, authorities said.

Cacedrick White, 26, arrived with a shotgun and fired it once in the parking lot while police were at the church in Lexington, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said. A Lexington police officer fired back three times, wounding White. He died at a hospital.

... Police were called to the Asia Missionary Baptist Church after congregants began yelling at each other, Strain said. Deacons tried to fire the pastor, but the pastor was trying to get the entire congregation to take a vote on whether to retain him.

“What happened was a bunch of the pastor’s family showed up and there was a whole bunch of yelling and hollering,” Strain said.


...Chambers said he believed someone had called White at home, and he came to the church with the gun.

“I believe someone called him and got him upset,” he said.

Albert Gibson Sr., White’s father, told WAPT-TV that White had come to the church to protect him.

OnlyGodKnows
OnlyGodKnows

This article is inaccurate and has minimal validity. It is a disgrace that the media has turned this into a public humiliation for a Man of God. It is even more pitiful that elder members of this church has allowed this nonsense to carry outside of the church doors. You will never complete God's business when your heart is geared towards the destruction of a fellow man. Church is supposed to be a place of peace, fellowship, and purpose. This church is now lacking all three and God has been shut out for personal retaliation. The pastor of this church has been there in it's weakest moments and was the person that kept the church operating while the former pastor was sick. If you want to report a story, DO YOUR RESEARCH. There has been enough partial truths told and as a member of the community I am tired of it. This church would have died if it wasn't for the Rev. Thomas. Another thing who cares if he preached 6 sundays out of 12? Have you been to some of the mega churches of Dallas? You rarely see the actual pastor preach.

OnlyGodKnows
OnlyGodKnows

This article is inaccurate and has minimal validity. It is a disgrace that the media has turned this into a public humiliation for a Man of God. It is even more pitiful that elder members of this church has allowed this nonsense to carry outside of the church doors. You will never complete God's business when your heart is geared towards the destruction of a fellow man. Church is supposed to be a place of peace, fellowship, and purpose. This church is now lacking all three and God has been shut out for personal retaliation. The pastor of this church has been there in it's weakest moments and was the person that kept the church operating while the former pastor was sick. If you want to report a story, DO YOUR RESEARCH. There has been enough partial truths told and as a member of the community I am tired of it. This church would have died if it wasn't for the Rev. Thomas. Another thing who cares if he preached 6 sundays out of 12? Have you been to some of the mega churches of Dallas? You rarely see the actual pastor preach.

annonymous
annonymous

My niece was a member of this church. She left before all this controversy. It is not the right message christians want to send to the world. I want people to know that Christ is the head of the church. There are some good pastors and some not so good pastors. There are some good followers and some not so good followeres. I call upon all true born again christians to pray for Morningstar Baptist Church.

Anthony Parker
Anthony Parker

Hilarious, for a state that "celebrates" the AT-WILL contract...is the Board of Trustees idiots? Why not issue a probationary "AT-WILL contract for 90days, then re-negotiate? Guess they will have learnt that lesson soon enough!

bradrob9
bradrob9

I'm a little disturbed by the typos in this piece and a few paragraphs which seem to lose their focus midway through. Did you guys lay off the copy editors or something?

--"son-and-law"

--"Thomas read the letter but ignored it, prompting a sternly worded followup three days later, complete with references to the Texas Penal Code. "There is no need to defame my client," he writes, before explaining that Thomas really is fired." Who is the "he" you're referring to?

James Raymond
James Raymond

GET THE MONEY FIRST and give him a raise, Fools! Scam of the year. Chumps

susanlb
susanlb

You know it's "son-in-law", not "son-and-law", right?

BO105
BO105

Yo dere's uh huge trust. ah see it all da tyme when broddars come up ta me an' say, “ah don' wants you ta let me down ag'in.”

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

This is what you get when religious groups don't separate their religion from their reality.  A church may qualify as a non-profit organization, but it is still a business, with income, expenses, assets and liabilities.  You always try to shield as much of your assets from your liabilities as you can.  The biggest potential liability any church has is its minister.  The minister has absolutely no need to have any input or control over church finances.  That is the job of the Trustees.  The ministers contract and the banking paperwork should all be very clear about who controls what.  If the trustees were soggy-brained enough to allow the minister signatory authority on church bank accounts, they need to be gotten rid of as well.

Had2Wright
Had2Wright

I see a long future ahead for this "pastor" in Dallas County politics!

Willie
Willie

Stupid is as stupid does ... they all deserve each other.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Hate to see how and what this "man of God" preaches.  Seems like this lying, stealing, unethical (nepostism), and drug using person is in need of help - not preaching to others. Who checked this guy out as a good candidate?  Seems like that person should alos be fired.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Amazing. He coulda' had a nice long-running gig but sold himself short early.

He coulda' milked those folks for years.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

the next pastor search might involve more than a Greensheet listing.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

The termination of your employment from Morning Star Baptist Church does not involve a court case, so therefore service by a Constable is not a relevant issue because it is not required as a matter of law in these circumstances.

 Looks like it does now .

 Alas, the second try proved no more effective than the first, so Morning Star is now taking Thomas to court. .

 

 

barbara888
barbara888

@OnlyGodKnows You seem like a calm and reasonable person.  That is why I took the time to add my own comment.  I feel bad for people who just want to worship God in peace and have to have other people bring so much drama into it.  They shouldn't be using God's name and resources to be putting on their own circus.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Must be new here. We're the copy editors.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@bradrob9 Anything that totally involves the church, as in both victim and perpetrator are the church, is udderly bovine and absolutely boring to the UP staff.  Now, if this was a story about a church trying to preach to the general public, why then you would see razor sharp writing and laser focused editing.  ... or maybe not.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@WatchingSouthDetroit  

Well, now that the reverend and his hell-spawn are out of work, I hear there is a high level opening in the DISD....

Had2Wright
Had2Wright

It's a Baptist church.  Ever try to get one of those congregations in one accord?  It's like hearding cats.  (writing from experience here!)

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Most people don't run straight to the law.  We work things out amongst ourselves.  And 99% of the time, that works just fine.  Having a psycho like this guy is very unusual, which makes it hard to fight them.  When you start telling someone what this psycho has done, it just seems incredible to the person you are telling because it is so rare.

I've seen a handful of these cases in other businesses, and it seems pretty straightforward.  They follow the same pattern, marginalize the old leaders, then take over the bank account, then change the locks, then finally use the business' money to sue the RIGHTFUL owners.  It's a fairly well established con.  The church was lucky or smart enough (usually the same thing) to thwart him at the bank, so they aren't resource-less and having their own money turned against them.

The church can sue him for fraud, conversion (changing the locks), trespass, etc etc, but in the end I doubt the crook has any money to get, so they would just be throwing church money at lawyers with no win at the end.  Their best bet is what they already have -- a restraining order, and maybe a declaratory judgment saying "this guy is nuts and the church doesn't owe him anything."

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@everlastingphelps The best way to get out of an abusive situation is to terminate it when it becomes obvious it's abusive.  The same applies to battered wives.  Act early.

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