Erskine's Congregation Wants Answers

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Just five weeks ago News 3 spoke with Pastor Erskine to get his take on comments made by Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Deacons at Shiloh Baptist say that was Erskine's last sermon there, and that hours before our interview, church leaders asked him to leave.

No doubt former Pastor Kris Erskine was on a lot people's minds, as they walked through the doors of the church Sunday morning.

Although he's wanted for stealing money from the church, there was no real mention of it from the pulpit, and that bothered some church members.

They'd already learned of the $800 in conference fees, and the money church leaders say Erskine pocketed as travel reimbursements, all for trips he didn't take.

However, members say they had no idea Erskine allegedly stole checks from the offering plate, until they saw it on our newscast.

"Why us as a church family don't know. That's what is confusing to some of us, why as church members (we) don't know any of this," said Mae Hall.

Police say Erskine created his own account called "Project Focus at Shiloh Economic Development Corporation." The account's only signer was Erskine.

Deacons say the account was for Erskine's private business, and that they repeatedly asked him to remove the church from the account's name.

Detectives say Erskine funneled checks meant for the church, to his account, like a $1,270 one marked as a tithe offering.

Police records also show a check for $500 was deposited in Erskine's account, with a memo line showing it should go toward's the church's youth scholarship fund. Documents show at least six other checks, including one meant for the church's support of Hurricane Katrina relief fund, all were deposited in Erskine's Project Focus account.

In Total, police believe Erskine stole over $10,000 from the church between March of 2006 and September of 2007.

Deacons say they confronted Erskine last September, but he refused to talk. They went to police in March. Some in the congregation wonder why it took so long.

"Between 2006 and 2007 if he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do, why keep giving him money?" said Hall.

Shiloh Baptist members want church deacons to lay out the evidence, so they know what to think about their former pastor.

"We need communication in that church. There is a lack of communication somewhere. We as a church family don't know anything at this time," said Jacquelin Cigar.

In 2006, Erskine told News 3 he had high hopes for his ministry.

"I wanna blaze a trail that if nobody ever remembers my name, remembers anything from me, that there were things put in place that the next generation can actually get to where they're trying to go," said Erskine.

Its likely people will remember him, but maybe for other reasons.

Deacons say at some point they will hold a closed church meeting to discuss the allegations against Erskine.

Erskine is believed to be in New York. Police in Bryan have issued a warrant for his arrest.

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