TAMPA, Fla. – New Salem Missionary Baptist Church leaders voted to remove the Rev. Henry Lyons as the congregation’s pastor.
The congregation voted Lyons out on Sunday by a 54-36 vote, church officials said.
Lyons’ removal comes amid allegations that he misappropriated funds. Lyons and his wife have been accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the church during a time when New Salem is already dealing with a host of other trials, including bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings.
“We’re really saddened by what happened to someone who has been a great leader and great pastor, and we wish him the best,” said Ron Carpenter, minister and church spokesman. “But we’re really ready now to close this chapter and move on so everyone can heal and so everyone in the community can move forward.”
This isn’t Lyons’ first encounter with controversy. He’s a convicted felon who’s made headlines in the past for grand theft and racketeering. His actions put him behind bars after he was accused of misappropriating millions from the National Baptist Convention while he was president.