She told CNN she had known all nine church members who voted to ban interracial couples "since I was a little kid." The ban led to a massive controversy.
The National Association of Free Will Baptists in Tennessee released a lengthy statement condemning the church policy.
"The National Association of Free Will Baptists does not have an official policy regarding interracial couples because it has not been an issue in the denomination.
The Free Will Baptist Treatise neither condemns nor disallows marriage between a man and woman of different races," the statement read in part.
In the 1970s, however, very few were even aware of its existence, even though it had been around for almost a century.
If you have tried solving this puzzle, you can confirm that your first attempts usually involve sketching lines inside the imaginary square.
On Saturday, the Sandy Valley Conference of Free Will Baptists, the regional body of the denomination, released a statement saying the church policy was "Null and Void," because the vote was not held in accordance with proper parliamentary procedure.
"Furthermore, Pastor Stepp has advised the conference that he and his church will hold a vote of solidarity for the purpose of welcoming believers into their fellowship regardless of race, creed or color.
“We will be working with the church if they accept our help,” Keith Burden, the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, told CNN on Monday.
Of course, the more fundamentalist sects discourage dating in general too, particularly when it includes casual or premarital sex. Rather, it has become more and more acceptable with less regard to location and race and this has greatly helped in destroying the myth about racism in the world. As long as people from different races have been migrating to different parts of the world, whether by their own choice or not, there has been race mixing.
Latinos/Hispanics are all mixed with native blood, European blood, and sometimes Arab or African blood.
Chikuni told CNN affiliate WLEX, "For someone who, like Stella, has been going to that church for all her life, expecting some support from them.
But you know, everyone just fell off the bandwagon and passed a really hard judgment on her and on us and the family too." Stella Harville told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday, before the church reversed the policy, "I still don't know how to process all this." Harville grew up in the church but left Pike County to attend college.
That led to the vote on November 27 on a church policy banning interracial couples from attending or participating in services.
"It's racist, that's all you can call it," Harville told WSAZ. You won't find a nicer person," he said about his daughter's fiance, who is originally from Zimbabwe.
“We are genuinely sorrowful and repentant for what happened,” Burden said.
“We hope to continue to work to try to prevent this from ever happening again.” The young couple at the center of all this had not planned to get married at the church, but this incident settled any doubt on the matter, Stella Harville told CNN.
Burden said churches within the denomination govern themselves autonomously and the national denomination cannot impose rules or sanctions on the church, but can only remove a church from the national group.
Burden said he spoke with Stepp before the vote on Sunday and told him the denomination would provide educational materials to “better equip their leaders.” He also encouraged Stepp to take the corrective measures that the church eventually did, with the new vote on Sunday.