January 08, 2005

Personal turmoil erupts into battle over pastor at church in Cleveland

Plain Dealer

Thursday, January 06, 2005
Kaye Spector
Plain Dealer Reporter

Cynthia Hudson had a terrible secret: Her boss, the pastor of Affinity Missionary Baptist Church, was having an affair with a church member he had been counseling.

For four years, Hudson, an associate pastor, stayed silent. She and the pastor, the Rev. Ronald E. Maxwell, often talked about the romance. She hoped and prayed it would end.

Eventually, Hudson realized Maxwell's wife suspected he was having an affair. But to her horror, the wife's suspicion fell on her.

In the church parking lot in February, Hudson tried to talk to the pastor's wife, according to an affidavit Hudson submitted to the church that detailed the affair and mounting pressure she felt about keeping it secret.

The wife's response was to summon her husband from inside the church. In front of them both, Hudson's secret came tumbling out.

"You have been mistreating me for years because you think that I am the one. I am not the one! . . ." Hudson told the pastor's wife, according to her affidavit. "Your husband is going to bring our church down."

In the months that followed, the 38-year-old congregation, which worships in a sparkling-new church at the corner of East 175th Street and Miles Avenue in Cleveland, erupted in conflict.

The pastor and some members of the church's executive board and congregation are locked in a struggle over whether to keep Maxwell as pastor. Tonight, the executive board is expected to vote on launching impeachment proceedings against Maxwell.

Posted by kshaw at January 8, 2005 04:57 AM