Up there in Kingsport, Tennessee, Boyd Watson Holder Jr., the pastor at Victory Apostolic Church was charged with stealing some $60,000 from the church bank account for his own personal use …
It was earlier this year when members of the congregation began to suspect Holder—who has been their pastor since 2010—of embezzling from the bank account; they now say that between $70,000 and $100,000 is missing from the account, and that the disappearing cash occurred solely during Holder's tenure, while he was the only person with access to the funds.
When questioned about the money by church members, Holder responded, "It is none of your business."
Lyle Kincheloe, a former board member of the church, says he was "kicked out" of the church — along with several other congregational leaders — when they confronted Holder about missing funds:
"We went on a Wednesday night to hold a meeting to dismiss him. We even had two Kingsport detectives with us. He told us he had done no wrong, we couldn't do this and couldn't have no meeting — so forth and so on."
Oops. That didn’t sit well with the congregation, who notified local police, who launched an investigation into the bank records of both Holder and the church. The findings of that investigation were presented to the grand jury this week, and Holder was indicted for theft of more than $60,000 and money laundering; Kingsport police, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to specify the exact amount of money believed to have been stolen from the church, or what Holder did with the funds.
But, along with the claims of stolen money, Pastor Holder has had two other run-ins with law enforcement over the last six months, and both are linked to his church.
On February 15, 2015 a man told police that when he visited the church to worship, Pastor Holder ordered him to leave, saying the man "was not there for the right reasons." The man refused, saying he was there for the service, and then Holder allegedly "grabbed him by his belt and attempted to lift him out of the pew." Other members of the church stepped in and politely told the man to go, and he did, though he then called police to report the incident.
An earlier incident, back in December 2014, is even more telling: on the afternoon of December 15, an officer observed a large, white passenger van in the rear parking lot of a vacant building. Upon checking the vehicle, the officer found two men engaged in sex acts; one of the men was Pastor Holder., who apologized to the officers and told them the van belonged to the church. The officer told the men not to "have relations in public," then ordered that they leave the property and not return.
Oh, Pastor. Violence; sex in a van; embezzling. God would be so proud of you.
Sidenote: Lyle Kincheloe cautions the public from pointing to Holder's arrest, then using it to paint the religious community with a broad stroke:
"This is an isolated thing. Not all churches are like this. Not all pastors are like this."
Now, that’s true, but it does seem that a lot of men become pastors, and use their churches, and the funds of those churches, for their own personal business, and at all in the name of faith.