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Robbins church denies woman burial on longtime family land

Posted February 26, 2013
Updated February 28, 2013

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— The Maness family has deep roots in Moore County. At a cemetery on the grounds of Acorn Ridge Baptist Church in Robbins, at least a dozen gravestones bear that family name.

But Bernie and Todd Maness say their legacy has been disrupted by the church's refusal to bury their mother on the cemetery plot she reserved 32 years ago.

"My family gave them the ground it sits on. My direct (ancestors) gave them that," Bernie Maness said. "Now my mom can't be buried there with her family."

The cemetery sits on a hill that was called Maness Hill until the family donated the land to the church on Feb. 25, 1891.

"They gave it because they needed a church in the community," Bernie Maness said. 

On Monday, exactly 122 years later, their mother, Delphia Lee Maness, passed away. She was 69.

Delphia Maness had wanted to be buried on the family land, in the plot where her husband and sons would eventually rest, the brothers say. But Acorn Ridge Baptist Church says she can't be buried in the cemetery because she wasn't an active member of the church.

Burial dispute Brothers clash with church over mother's burial plot

"My mom was everything, everything – the first lady I ever loved," said a tearful Todd Maness.

"When she died, that's where she thought she was going to be buried," Bernie Maness added.

The family laid burial markers for Delphia Maness, her husband and two sons at the cemetery in 1981. At the time, the brothers said, there was no rule that only active church members could be buried there.

Pastor John Williamson said the decision was made by the church's Board of Trustees and that his hands are tied.

Todd Maness said he's disappointed in that decision.

"Our parents always taught us that, if you didn't have a friend in the world, you could always go to a church," he said. "If you were starving, they would help feed you. They're supposed to be there for you. When we need them, it's like a business."

The brothers say they have offered to pay extra for their mother's burial, but the church isn't budging.

A funeral for Delphia Maness is slated for Thursday. 

395 Comments

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  • mustang74 Mar 4, 9:49 a.m.

    I live in robbins not far from this church. This is not the first time the pastor and his trustees have turned there back on a hurt family. There have also been non members buried there in the last few years also that were close to the pastor and his trustees. These are some of the things that get overlooked. There's another story behind this one that would also make your heart hurt and wonder how any one like that could call there self christian.

  • superman Mar 1, 12:23 p.m.

    The "minister" is caught in the middle. He has to choose between what is in his heart or his pocketbook. He has decided his pocketbook is more important. Such a fine church it is.

  • tjszx2 Feb 28, 2:45 p.m.

    The original story posted stated that the plots were purchased, that is why so many people were under the impression that they were purchased in 19891 when they placed the markers.....this story has been changed so it no longer reflects that part of the story. IF that were an untrue statement made by WRAL then they should have ran a correction to the story verses just changing it.

  • Zoey0815 Feb 28, 1:16 p.m.

    Disgraceful.

  • HotShot Feb 28, 1:06 p.m.

    Acorn church was more than willing to take the donation of land.. If it was the church's policy to only bury parishioners then why did they leave the burial markers there for more than 30 years! This kind family was duped! Shame on the Acorn Christian(?) Church!

  • Lightfoot3 Feb 28, 8:44 a.m.

    "What is legal is not always moral, and the Church has a higher standard (or should have)" - happymom


    Bingo!

  • grandmagail Feb 28, 8:23 a.m.

    I agree that this is a sad situation and the church should allow her to be buried here but if you re-read the article, it does not say that they bought the burial plots. Merely that they laid markers.

  • Lightfoot3 Feb 28, 8:16 a.m.

    "I imagine limited plots are the issue here." - lighter22


    Nope. Family already RESERVED the plots some THIRTY years ago. The issue is a hateful, spiteful social club pretending to be a church.

  • atheistswillserveinhell Feb 27, 7:48 p.m.

    these so called christians ought to be ashamed of themselves

  • caroexc Feb 27, 7:30 p.m.

    churches are increasingly becoming like the streets, every person for himself, no honor, no morals, no loyalty and no compassion. Shame on them.

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