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103-year-old woman: I’ve been banned after trying to get ‘my church straight’

Posted at 1:22 PM, Sep 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-20 13:22:55-04

ELBERTON, Ga. — The one thing Genora Hamm Biggs said she knows is true is her love for the Lord. At 103 years old, she reads her Bible daily, but lately she says she’s had to do some extra praying.

“I was shocked — and it was not a good feeling,” Biggs said after WHNS reported she received a certified letter in the mail from church members.

The letter states:

“Dear Mrs. Genora Hamm Biggs,
This letter is to inform you that according to the by-laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked. Therefore, you cannot attend Union Grove Baptist Church for any reason whatsoever. You are not to come to the property of the Union Grove Baptist Church located at 680 Pulliam Street, Elberton, Georgia 30635.


The members and officers of the Union Grove Baptist Church.”


Union Grove Baptist Church

“The letter said we’re not to come back, but we went back – police were there,” Biggs explained.

Biggs said Union Grove Baptist Church in Elberton is the only church she’s ever known and that she became a member 92 years ago.

“He told police he wanted to put us out, but the police told him, ‘you can’t do that,'” she commented.

Biggs claimed Union Grove Baptist Church’s pastor, Rev. Tim Mattox, wants her banned because she spoke out and told him about things she didn’t like.

“He’s a holy, sanctified minister – we are Baptist and he has divided the church,” Biggs said.

In fact, she said the pastor is not following the covenant of the Baptist Church and is trying to change the denomination to a Holiness Church.

“I haven’t seen anything like this before,” she said as she shook her head.

Genora Hamm Biggs

Genora Hamm Biggs

Former members of the church support her actions.

“It’s not right,” Ezell Land said. “They brought it here on a mule and a wagon from the country when I was a little boy.”

Land used to be a deacon at the church and said the Hamm Biggs’ family founded the church.He grew up in the church too, and was a member for 56 years before he left.

“Every time I would get up, the pastor would get up and make remarks when I sang and stuff. So, I just got my hat and I left,” Land said.

And although Biggs still has her name etched on the side of the church, she said it is the emotional scars that hurt the most.

“I wanna get my church straight like it has been,” she said.

Elberton police officers call the church fall-out a civil matter and have not made any arrests.

The congregation issued a statement Tuesday stating Biggs’ membership was revoked after she chose, “to make decisions about the church that she does not have the authority to make.”

The letter alleges Biggs invited another minister to the church to take the place of the pastor and her behavior was “detrimental to the church at large and could no longer be allowed.” She was asked not to attend the church due to the disruptive behavior on “multiple occasions.”

Church officials contradicted Biggs claims that she was banned from the church. In fact, they said she could still attend Sunday services. However, since her membership was revoked she can no longer attend any meetings concerning church business.