This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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.
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
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.
wth50beau Feb 27, 7:26 p.m.
It is sad when a Church cannot see the Christian way to act in any given situation. Organized religion continues to wonder why it is losing the "faithful" in droves. Perhaps these actions can explain in part the exodus from the Church.
BreBoy Feb 27, 7:16 p.m.
This church should be ashamed. A church is ALL of its members, and the rest should speak up and remove this Board of Trustees!
Scubagirl Feb 27, 6:56 p.m.
I am amazed and saddened that there are some on here DEFENDING the actions of the church in denying Mrs. Maness burial in HER gravesite.
smitty77 Feb 27, 6:25 p.m.
Here is my e-mail to the pastor: Please lets keep e-mailing them.
You and your so called leaders should be ashamed of the way you have treated this family. Put yourself in their shoes, what if this was your mother? Don't hide behind the so called leaders. If you really believe in God and His son, then you know this is wrong and you should be fighting for the right thing to do, not just saying your hands are tied. You need to take a stand. This sounds more like a business, rather than a church. Where is your love and compassion? May your "good" members see this wrong and will find another place to worship. I respectfully hope when all this is over, you people will change your minds and do the right thing. If not, at least give them a refund, and hang your heads in shame and dishonor. I am so glad this is not my church, if it was you definitely would be less one member.
PLEASE reconsider your decision.
bluecanary Feb 27, 6:22 p.m.
Wow. And they wonder why so many people turn away from the church? Real christian behavior.
ziggy71 Feb 27, 6:18 p.m.
bill0 "Ugh, do you know what Jesus would do? Jesus was jewish. There most certainly were strict laws about jewish funerals and burials at the time of Jesus's life and death. In fact, Jesus himself was spared the indignity of being buried like a Roman criminal when a fellow jew stepped up and offered the use of his family's burial site."
Just because the Jewish believe one way and Christians believe another as to burial rites/rituals, just to name a few differences, doesn't make either one of them WRONG. I truly do believe that Jesus would welcome a stranger without regard to what faith they are/were. What IS at issue here isn't the rite itself, but how Christians are treating this family in a time of sadness and need. If that isn't enough for you "bill0" then why shouldn't they just make the ethical decision? It would be an easy one for me to make!
Tomcat123 Feb 27, 5:27 p.m.
Wow, I've never seen such a self-centered group of Christians in all my life.- christinebbd
Nope they are like that everywhere, had a similar thing happen to me back in 2003 up in Yancey County. A cemetery that had been a community/church cemetery for years was all of a sudden owned just by the church according to one of the deacons and all burials had to be oked by him. After I buried my wife and put up a tombstone for her and me. The deacon put up a fence across the tombstone claiming I had went over the "line" from old part of cemetery to new part of cemetery were only church members could be buried. Had to cut the tombstone in half and put other half at bottom of grave.
All my family is buried in this cemetery which one of my family ancestors originally donated all the land. But it didn't matter according to the deacon. So when I get buried there I will have to be buried beside my mother and not my wife.
And Christians wonder why religion is so disliked ?
4Strikes Feb 27, 5:20 p.m.
"Fact is lighter22, They bought the burial plots!!!!!!! Thats not entitlement, it was a contract. Burial plots for money. So the Family bought the right to use a portion of the land to be burried. The Church owes them what they paid for. No ifs, and, or buts." TITAN4X4
This lighter22 guy is clearly delusional. He is under the impression that a deed is the only form of legal contract in the United States that is binding.
outside_of_apex Feb 27, 5:09 p.m.
Oops, to clarify ... he was a minister of a different church than the one in the article.
outside_of_apex Feb 27, 5:05 p.m.
Reminds me when my grandfather died. He had been a minister of this church for over 25 years before he retired. However, when he died, the curch decided not to pay funeral expenses as had been customary for retired ministers.
The reason? My father was a doctor and the church figured he could pay the funeral costs better than they could (possibly true, but it was the principle of the thing). The church organist felt so bad that he bought my grandfather's organ for exactly the funeral costs.
Small time churches are an infinite source of drama.
TITAN4X4 Feb 27, 4:58 p.m.
Key word gave. Second fact is because family gave land doesn't entitle you to a thing 100 years later. You people are eat up with the entitlement mentality. Bottom line...the church OWNS the cemetery and the plots in it. You do your research. We would really be in trouble if we let emotions rule this land instead of LAW.
Fact is lighter22, They bought the burial plots!!!!!!! Thats not entitlement, it was a contract. Burial plots for money. So the Family bought the right to use a portion of the land to be burried. The Church owes them what they paid for. No ifs, and, or buts.
Relic Feb 27, 4:55 p.m.
"I'd be willing to bet that this church would deny Jesus a burial spot because he didn't attend church there regularly."
"The irony of this comment is apparently lost on more than a few of those commenting."
I don't think it was irony. I think they got it dead on the head. He's got to be invited to the Church to be there on a regular basis and from what I've seen in this incident, they haven't talked to Him in a while.
zeb Feb 27, 4:49 p.m.
sorry excuse for a church. I am with the family.
christinebbd Feb 27, 4:45 p.m.
From what I've gleaned from reading other comments, apparently there was a church split sometime ago. I don't know the history of the church, but if a split did occur, it's pretty obvious which half was in the wrong. The spiritual atmosphere of this church needs exorcised, starting with the board of trustees.
mrr03 Feb 27, 4:41 p.m.
To the Board of Trustees: Please allow this family to bury their mother..Do the Christian thing..
Whatdaheck Feb 27, 4:40 p.m.
"I imagine limited plots are the issue here. -lighter22"
This family did reserve 3 plots 32 years ago. Read the article.
Relic Feb 27, 4:33 p.m.
They are representing something that is definitely not "Christian".
It is called "Pharaseeism" and you're right.
eoglane Feb 27, 4:32 p.m.
And they call this a Church. Shame on that whole church and the minister. Must be a political thing, probably about money.
eoglane Feb 27, 4:31 p.m.
One church I would never set foot in.
Relic Feb 27, 4:30 p.m.
no contract was required
In NC an oral contract, if proven, is considered just as valid as a written contract.
christinebbd Feb 27, 4:27 p.m.
"I'd be willing to bet that this church would deny Jesus a burial spot because he didn't attend church there regularly."
The irony of this comment is apparently lost on more than a few of those commenting.
Relic Feb 27, 4:27 p.m.
"if your name aint on the deed, it aint yours."
Bottom line... If the Christ I worship hadn't had someone lend him a tomb then we'd be celebrating the "empty shallow grave" on Easter Sunday. This is a church, not a convenience store so the name on the deed doesn't matter. The name above the altar does.
Relic Feb 27, 4:25 p.m.
"How would you feel as a long time church member that tithed every Sunday being denied a burial at the church in favor of burying someone that wasn't even a member?"
It was the family that gave the land the church sits on. I have yet to see a country church that crowded folks. If there's a church out there now that's got so many members that even the cemetery is filled up I want to go there to see what they're doing.
christinebbd Feb 27, 4:24 p.m.
Calculate 31 years of interest built up on the price of the lots... then multiply that by 3. And that's the figure they'll get at the end of the lawsuit, right?
christinebbd Feb 27, 4:21 p.m.
Wow, I've never seen such a self-centered group of Christians in all my life.
whoami Feb 27, 4:17 p.m.
Publish the names of the Board of Trustees. That's who needs to receive to barrage of emails and calls about their un-Christian decision. It is bad enough when folks who bought plots decades ago have to now pay a fee to the church or cemetary to "dig the hole". If the church wants to act like a business, tax them like a business.
ebeamer747 Feb 27, 4:09 p.m.
Sadly, this is a case where the family believed that the church would always do what they said they would do-----no contract was required. Over time, the church has new members and Board who have taken a staunch stand regarding burial in their cemetery. Unfortunately, this family is caught up in this change of ethics and responsibility perception by the church. It is sad reality and a part of what is so wrong with our society (my opinion). I think the church will regret their bad publicity. I really would like to hear the church's side of this. My prayers go to the family. This has obviously made a difficult time even more difficult and sad.
lighter22 Feb 27, 4:08 p.m.
"Shameful when churches only cater to their members. Truly shameful!!!"
And I'm sure there is a reason....Something like limited space. It is an OLD church. The cemetery may be close to full. Obviously you would want to save plots for members. Try the other shoe on. How would you feel as a long time church member that tithed every Sunday being denied a burial at the church in favor of burying someone that wasn't even a member? I imagine limited plots are the issue here.
DeM Feb 27, 4:06 p.m.
TB - it is my understanding that there was a rift in the church and some members left and started their own. At least some of the Manesses went to the 'other' church, and I believe there are some old wounds that have never healed from the break. Political, mostly, if I understand correctly.
lighter22 Feb 27, 4:04 p.m.
"Would Jesus deny this family right to bury their mother in this cemetery? I'd be willing to bet that this church would deny Jesus a burial spot because he didn't attuned church there regularly."
Oh, I bet you are one of those people that if you owned a piece land, you would agree to let the public at large determine what you could and couldn't do on the land. You would let them determine who could set foot on it and who couldn't. Then I'm sure you would be tickled to death at a previous owner demanding to be buried under the elder bush by your front door step. Private property ownership rights are some of the oldest and most unmolested laws of this country. The cornerstone of freedom. Bottom line, if your name aint on the deed, it aint yours.
whatdowehavehere Feb 27, 4:02 p.m.
Define Active Member. We have in our church non active members that will be buried at our church. Some are in rest homes or nursing homes. Some who have moved away, however all or their family members are buried there. In this case, it's a shame that the church won't make an exception due to the fact that if not for her family giving them the land in the first place THAT church would not be in existance. Just a shame that this story is what the community will remember about this church. Not for any of the Christian deeds that have been done in the past or present.
cinnamon16 Feb 27, 4:00 p.m.
I would never want to be associated with a church that breaks such promises. Someone there needs to go to the alter and repent for this hurtful decision.
Hawk912 Feb 27, 4:00 p.m.
They are entitled and have legal grounds to bury their mom in that cemetery. They have already purchased the plots, so they own the burial grounds. The church also granted them permission to be interned there back in 1981. I do not think they can arbitrarily resend that decision. Especially when the family owns the plots. But are they willing to have their mother stored until this plays out possibly in court.
Pirate01 Feb 27, 3:59 p.m.
Please stop trying to use this case as an attack on Christianity. The Maness family and their dear mother are the Christians in this case. Not the church leaders. They are representing something that is definitely not "Christian". Evil has entered their world. Hopefully members of the church will speak with their wallets and feet.
Liveandlearn Feb 27, 3:58 p.m.
This would break my heart if it were my Mother. My family in Alamance County gave land for a first church building to be built, the second church building to be built, and additional land was given 14 years ago when my Dad died to enlarge the church grounds including the cemetery. My mother is now living in Raleigh due to her health. She has already had to leave her home, church, and friends. This would be so awful if I could not take my Mother home to be buried. My tears are with this family.
Larc Feb 27, 3:58 p.m.
Admittedly I know only details that I've read and heard from WRAL, but wouldn't the church be legally bound by whatever rules were in effect at the time they sold the plot to the Maness family? Unless the church provided themselves with an out at that time or the family has subsequently agreed to one, it seems they would be in breach of contract now.
Stormy13 Feb 27, 3:56 p.m.
Pirate01: I agree with you 100%!! I am not just a Christian, I am also a Christ follower. The people at this church need to get back to what the church stands for, they have truly lost their way.
lighter22 Feb 27, 3:55 p.m.
4Strikes. I "bought" 4 plots in a church cemetery in 2009. Used one of them to bury my wife. I didn't get the first piece of paper or sign the first thing except the check I wrote for the plots. I don't actually own those plots. I reserved them which means I could lose them. We're talking a 100 dollars a plot here. The transfer fees and costs would exceed a 100 bucks in a true buy sell transaction. Now if I went to Montlawn in Raliegh to buy a plot I would actually own it with a deed and probably somewhere around 3,000 bucks in cost. Church cemeteries are totally different then public cemeteries when it comes to who actually owns what.
4Strikes Feb 27, 3:54 p.m.
"What a disgusting decision. All of the people using this case to slam Christians, let me make it very clear, NO Christian believes this is the right thing to do. The leaders of this church have lost their way and need to pray about what they have become." Pirate01
Of course all of the Christian haters are going to come out of the woodwork. They are salivating over this. It makes about as much sense as hating all of education in general, just because the Wake County School Board is off it's rocker.
I am sure it is just a few fools on the board of this church that have dragged the reputation of the church into the mud. The church will not recover from this, they will most likely lose the majority of their congreagation and that will be the end of it. This is what happens when fools speak for you and you allow them to lead you.
bob1974 Feb 27, 3:49 p.m.
The story says- The family laid burial markers for Delphia Maness, her husband and two sons at the cemetery in 1981.-
What does that mean? Did they pay for the burial plots? If so then the church needs to pay the family back or let the family use the plots the way they were intended.
Published: 2008-01-11 14:37:00
Updated: 2010-06-21 13:53:03