'Literally locked us out': Detroit church's insurance policy abruptly canceled

Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 05, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Pleasant Grove Baptist Church grove on Detroit’s east side has been met with a significant setback.

Their insurance company GuideOne canceled the church’s insurance policy without warning.

Because of this cancellation, parishioners can no longer be inside of the church for weekly services or on property.

Many of them are upset they cannot come together and worship.

Parishioners reached out to 7 News Detroit for help.

Pastor Lewis Forsythe

"I was so overwhelmed with pain and hurt and tears I could no longer hold the tears back last Sunday,” Pastor Lewis Forsythe said.

Forsythe recounted how he felt when he could no longer hold in-person church services at the building.

"Because of what GuideOne did to us and how they have really literally locked us out without allowing us to come to worship and to fellowship together on Sunday, and how individuals look forward to being here on Sunday can no longer afford that ability to be here to worship,” he said.

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

GuideOne sent a letter stating, "The reason for this action is your policy will be non-renewed effective 6/21/24 due to loss history.”

Forsythe said this was due to a claim filed in 2021 for flooding when Detroit city sewers backed up into the building

GuideOne also plans to cancel the insurance on their bus in December.

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

“We were with you for 30 years and paid all of our premiums and now you are no longer saying you are willing to serve us and renew our policy,” Forsythe said.

I sat down with Jimmie McBryde to see how he’s doing not being allowed to worship.

“It’s a dark time. It's a dark time for us because we believe in a congregation of worship and we believe one should be able to come in and worship,” McBryde said. “This is the place that God said that he would meet us here. Now, we're scattered sheep.”

“It needs to be addressed and attention to be given to it, so we appreciate you taking some time to deal with this,” Forsythe added.

We reached out to GuideOne for comment but have not yet heard back as of Friday evening.