Nearly three dozen parishioners join Chan Chandler in exiting East Waynesville Baptist Church
After national media attention over a confrontation with church members who supported Democrat John Kerry for President, East Waynesville (N.C.) Baptist Church pastor Chan Chandler resigned yesterday.

"For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family," he said at a special business meeting last night. "I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family."

"Remaining church members said they sat in silence for a long time after Chandler and 35 of his loyal followers left the sanctuary—a silence broken when one of the members stepped forward and began to play hymns on the piano," reports the Raleigh News & Observer. The paper says he will continue his M.Div. studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chandler didn't speak to the media, but his lawyer explained, "He feels like in light of everything that has taken place, instead of continuing to fight with the various factions, he feels it's in the best interest of everyone concerned that he resign."

Actually, Chandler did speak to one media outlet. Baptist Press scored a coup with its exclusive interview yesterday, before the pastor's resignation. But even Baptist Press had a hard time figuring out what really happened at the church:

As Baptist Press tried to clarify whether the nine people were in fact voted out of the church, Chandler said they initially left voluntarily. Since some of those who willingly forfeited their memberships were trustees of the church, other members thought it prudent to make their actions official.
Chandler said the church had undergone several months of disharmony, ...
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