Pastor Elijah Collins Jr. of New Jerusalem Baptist Church talks about how his actions were misunderstood and how Snellville needs more racial diversity represented.
In light of the city clerk controversy at the last Snellville Council meeting, Pastor Elijah Collins Jr. wants to explain his side of the story and his involvement in Snellville politics.
Specifically, the pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Churchspoke about his speech during the public comment portion of the Jan. 13th meeting. Many people have voiced how “rude” and “disrespectful” Collins was to speak a few minutes and then raise his hand to signal for his church, which consisted of nearly half the room, to leave when other citizens still wanted to express themselves.
During a meeting with the press at his church Thursday (Jan. 23), Collins said he thought he was speaking last since there were no other citizens lining up for the podium. Going last was important because, “To me, I didn’t want to say what I had to say and then leave my church members there,” he said.
Him raising his hand comes from a custom in the black Baptist church during devotion, he continued. The deacons will lift their hands to signal that it’s time to stand, and lowering their hands means to sit down.
“I did not know Melvin Everson was coming up behind me,” he continued, adding that he worked with the former Snellville councilman while being a youth minister at Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Lilburn. “It was not my intention to be disrespectful. I was trying to be the last one and to take my people out before anything else happened. That’s the truth.”
But when the church left, it caused a loud, boisterous disruption and negative comments were thrown from both sides of the room. Collins said he was disappointed in what he heard and has reprimanded his church members who took part in it during Sunday worship.
So does he regret what happened?
“I didn’t regret it,” he said. “I regret the fact that it wasn’t received the way I meant for it to be received. I talked about the power, the strength of the black church and the black community. I did that as a show of, ‘This is what I mean. We have this unity already.'”
Source: Snellville News on Patch | Sarah Bakhtiari