Lawsuit: Pastor Sold Church Under Congregation's Nose

Fox News, Houston/December 9, 2011

Houston -- For 49 years, these women have called Pure Light Baptist Church their home.

But now that home is not so stable.

Pamela Matthews has attended the church since she was 11 years old.

"I was a kid in this church, now I'm 50," Matthews said. "He was supposed to be a man of God."

That man is former pastor Rory Murphy.

Murphy sold the church right from under the 100-plus member congregation, according to a lawsuit filed by members of Pure Light.

"It was devastating," said Joy Barkley who attends Pure Light. "We were so hurt and surprised, we still don't believe it."

"We didn't know anything about it," said Marie Fields, also a member. "He took it upon himself to do what he did and we're having to deal with it after he's gone."

Pure Light, for all intents and purposes, is now owned by a Florida-based company.

Murphy sold the church for $125,000, according to the lawsuit.

Anthony Moten is the new pastor at Pure Light.

Moten said the congregation has already spent more than $40,000 in an attempt to save the church.

But money is hard to come by with only 100 members. That's why they've turned to selling fish plates every other Friday and car washes to raise money to save the church their elders built in 1963.

"And hopefully God will some some resolve so we can maintain this campus that that this church congregation paid off years ago," Moten said.

So far, we have not been able to reach Murphy or the Florida-based company for comment.

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