Rev. Arthur Pearson(pictured above)

Source:Woodtv8/Leon Hendrix

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Kent County Prosecutors authorized a warrant for the pastor of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, accusing him of embezzling between $50,000 and $100,000 from the church.   Prosecutors say the charges against Rev. Arthur Pearson, Sr., 38, may be upgraded as they believe there may be upwards of $200,000 missing in church funds. They say they’re also investigating whether or not others were involved. The issue has divided church members, with many of them standing behind the pastor — even some of whom believe he embezzled the money. “We all make mistakes. He made a mistake,” said longtime member Connie McGee. “He did wrong. I don’t uphold his wrong, but I am a person to forgive.”   Prosecutors and Grand Rapids police have been monitoring the probe of the missing funds for weeks and a warrant was authorized late last week.   The disagreement has become tense. On Sunday, Grand Rapids police officers were called to the church ay 510 Franklin Street SE after the morning worship service because some members refused to leave the church and wanted to meet to discuss the situation involving the pastor, police said.   “He has destroyed our church in 3 and a half years,” said Donna Martin, 58, who’s been a member since she was 10 years old. “He’s been misusing funds ever since he’s been here.”   Pearson’s brother-in-law, Jerry Ashford, said he is an attorney and intends to defend Peason should a civil lawsuit emerge. He is also a member of Pilgrim Rest who believes the case should not be charged criminally.   “There’s no evidence,” Ashford said. “I believe that he has a contract that allows him housing expenses, buisness expenses, and a salary and a bonus.”   Ashford says he also intends to file a motion against an order barring Pearson from church property.   While it appeared that people were inside of Pearson’s Kentwood home, no one answered the door when 24 Hour News 8 stopped by to seek comment.   Pearson’s mother Zelda Ford made a statement outside of the church Sunday.   “He didn’t take no money,” Ford said. “This is hurting Pastor. Pastor loves all of his members.”   Many of the church’s leaders declined to comment on the investigation but Veruynca Williams, who direct’s the church’s children’s ministries, said she’s looking forward to the situation’s resolution.   “I would like to see us unified and being about our father’s buisness which is evangalism and discipleship. It’s building the kingdom of God,” she said.   While a warrant has been issued, police have not arrested Pearson. Investigative sources say he is expected to turn himself in early this week.

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