LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA) -- Jessica Williams was supposed to be in a Bible study class on Wednesday night at Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover.
Instead, she was outside the locked church with dozens of her fellow parishioners, fellow angry parishioners, after the church's board of trustees fired the City of Praise's pastor, Joel Peebles.
"My pastor is a wonderful man of God. His family built this church from the ground up," Williams said.
The firing of Pastor Peebles caps a two-year long feud within the church. The bitter wrangling began when Peebles's mother, Betty, the founder of City of Praise and the church's long-time pastor, died back in 2010.
In dispute, apparently, is not just who will be the church's spiritual leader, but who will control its finances. The church reportedly has millions of dollars in assets.
In a statement released Tuesday, the church's board of trustees said, in part, that Pastor Peebles' firing "...was necessary to protect Jericho and move forward, while remaining in compliance with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)3 religious organizations."