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The historic Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington D.C. in the Shaw neighborhood has taken to the courts to give its preacher, Pastor Wallace Smith, the boot. Last month, 138 disaffected members voted to have Smith pulled off the pulpit, citing several instances of mismanagement. The mutiny intensified when the group filed a temporary restraining order against the pastor in D.C. Superior Court. But the majority of the 3,000-member congregation was not properly notified of the vote, a situation that violates the church’s bylaws. Bridnetta Edwards, a labor and employment attorney with Reed Smith who is also a member of the church, stepped in to represent the congregation pro bono. Earlier this month, the congregation was granted a motion to intervene and pushed to get the case out of the courts and back into the hands of the parishioners. Last week, they got their wish. Senior Judge Mary Ellen Abrecht presided over the restraining order hearing on Sept. 14 and told it on the mountain, so to speak. The judge dismissed the restraining order and voided the August vote. “The congregation,” says Edwards, “is ecstatic.”
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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