HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (CBSDC) – Apryl Kellam said she was fired from the church daycare because she was in violation of church policy.
“It hurts because I’ve grown up in a Christian home and Christian church my whole life,” Kellam told WTVR-TV.
Kellam has been working at the daycare since September. After about a month on the job she said the supervisor at the Staples Mill Road Baptist Church told her she needed to marry her fiancé. Kellam and her fiancé, James Coalson, are expecting a baby in April.
Kellam said she and her fiancé intend to get married when they feel the time is right for them.
“I want to wait so we can have all our family and friends there and have a big wedding,” Kellam told WTVR. “I just don’t want to go to the courthouse and have someone marry us.”
Pastor James Booth said he cannot tell the church’s side of the story because he is bound by confidentiality laws because this is a personal matter. Booth did say that the church does not discriminate against single women or unwed mothers.
“We have a number of single women who are employed here and serve well,” Booth told the station. “We have a number of single moms who serve well.”
Booth went on to say that prior to starting work all employees are required to sign an employee handbook, which outlines a code of conduct that clearly states expectations for employees.
“People are calling us judgmental, but that’s judgmental, to say we’re being judgmental when they don’t know us,” Booth argued to WTVR. “They don’t know our heart. We’re not trying to be hurtful; we’re just following our personnel handbook which is rooted in our statement of faith and our biblical beliefs.”
Booth believes the church’s policy is within their legal rights.
Kellam says she never signed or saw the employee handbook and was unaware of their policy. She also said she told the church prior to her employment that she was living with her fiancé.
“She shouldn’t have been hired,” Coalson said.
Kellam and Coalson are considering taking legal action.
The couple understands the church’s policy but is having a hard time reasoning with it. Kellam said she was giving a positive job review and a raise.
“The only one who can judge me is God himself,” Kellam added.