A Georgia hairdresser who divorced her husband and is now in a relationship with another woman has been told by her church that she must repent for her ‘sinful behavior’ or else be publicly denounced and excommunicated.
Krystal Cox was informed in writing by the elders of Woodstock Church of Christ that they were concerned about ‘the condition of your soul’.
Cox, who has been attending the church in Woodstock, 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta, for around five years, told her local news channel she was deeply hurt by the letter.
‘When I opened it, I was kind of enraged,’ she told CBS 46.
Cox, who owns a hair salon in Woodstock, Georgia, is to be excommunicated for her sexuality
Cox, pictured with her musician girlfriend Tayler Jacques, was attacked by the church elders for the ‘public display of your homosexual relationship’, which they said was ‘sinful’
‘Like, why am I getting picked on and getting called out when everyone has sin?
‘The fact that they’re going to point it out and release my personal business to the entire congregation of the church and tell them that I can no longer come there – I just don’t feel like that’s right,’ Cox said.
Four elders first wrote to Cox, who has ran a hair salon in the town for 20 years, before Christmas asking for a meeting.
They said that they wanted ‘to discuss with you this situation and the condition of your soul.’
When the mother-of-two did not respond, they wrote again with an ultimatum.
‘As elders of the Woodstock congregation, we have the responsibility to watch out for the souls of each member of this congregation.
‘As we have previously stated, we feel it is crucial to remind you that our Lord considered it vital that no one can be involved in homosexuality and be in a pleasing relationship with God.’
A tearful Cox told her local television station she was saddened by the elders’ decision
The four church elders (pictured) will publicly denounce her on April 30 in church
The Woodstock Church of Christ in Georgia, 30 miles north of downtown Atlanta
The four men – Eric Dotson, Gary Kyle, Rick Reynolds and Don Williams – condemned in their April 1 letter her ‘lack of desire to hear our concerns, apparent lack of willingness to repent, and the public display of your homosexual relationship’.
They said they had ‘no alternative but to withdraw our fellowship with you’.
‘Please understand this is an effort to encourage in you a Godly sorrow leading to repentance,’ they wrote.
‘Please understand that we love you and pray that you will repent, seek forgiveness and return to worshipping our Father in the Lord’s church.’
Cox was given an April 30 deadline to ‘repent’, or else they said they would assume she did ‘not desire to be forgiven for your sinful behavior.’
The elders said they would then make an announcement the following Sunday, and warned her that she would from thenceforth be shunned.
‘It is important that you understand after fellowship has been withdrawn from you, Christians must not interact with you except to encourage you to repent and seek forgiveness,’ they concluded.
Cox and Jacques, on vacation. Cox has told of her sadness at being forced from the church
Cox, who said she is leaving the church, posted the letter on Instagram, captioning it: ‘I can’t wait for my denouncement ceremony. #churchofchristdropout #churchofchrist #organizedreligion #godislove #loveislove #bye’
Cox said that she was saddened by the condemnation of her loving relationship, which brought her happiness.
Her girlfriend Tayler Jacques is the lead vocalist in 90s tribute band Flannel Nation.
‘I feel like it’s not wrong,’ she told CBS 46.
‘I look at my relationship and how much love I have with her and think, how can people think this is so wrong?’
She added that she had no desire for the church or those involved with it to be publicly attacked.
‘I just really don’t want anything bad to come out of this,’ she said.
‘I want it to be good. I don’t want people to be saying ugly things to them and sending them ugly stuff. I just don’t want that, that was not my intent.’
The church has removed its Facebook page and closed its website after Cox published her letter.
The four elders have not responded to media requests for comment.