- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Tampa woman is outraged after she says she received a collection notice in the mail from her local church ordering her to pay $1,000 in order to be considered a “member in good standing.”

“People were really friendly there, and I really enjoyed being there,” Candace Petterson, a single mother who has been attending the Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church for six months, told a local ABC affiliate.

Ms. Petterson said things were going perfectly at her new church until she received a letter at her home last week.

“To be a member in good standing and have the right to vote, adults are to contribute the minimum amount of $50 per month,” read Ms. Petterson. “Fifty dollars per month, now this shocked me because I haven’t heard about the $50 per month. So where did this come from?”

“Then Mount Moriah Day is on there, $150,” she added, plus a yearly church anniversary fee of $250, brings the total to $1,000 in required donations per year.

Ms. Petterson said she was told one of the fees is to help pay off the church’s debts. She also learned that her daughter, 11, would also have to meet the financial requirements to become a member, ABC reported.

“My child don’t have a job, I’m her parent. She’s 11 years old. Why would you charge a child $5 a month to be a member of a church?” the mother asked.

Church leaders confirmed that the letter was valid, but declined to provide any other information, ABC reported.

Ms. Petterson said she’s going to try and find another church.

“It’s like you say to me, ‘If you want to be a member of this church, you need to pay this if you want to find God.’ It don’t say anything like that in the Bible,” she told the station.

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