Embattled First Christian senior minister Justin White resigns

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Justin K. White, senior minister at First Christian Church in Columbus, has resigned.

First Christian Church elders used Sunday morning services to announce White’s decision — which was submitted during a meeting with elders March 12, and accepted by them the next day.

White, who was arrested by Columbus police and charged Friday with two felonies — insurance fraud and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, had planned to tell the congregation during services today of his resignation, and explain what he’s been going through the past two years, said Steve Wiggins, chairman of the church’s elder board.

However, with the events that unfolded Friday — White’s arrest, filing of criminal charges against him, and his jailing — Wiggins made the announcement instead of White, he said.

During services this morning, church leaders explained their decision to wait on announcing White’s resignation until most church members returned to normal routines following the two-week spring break from school, with classes resuming Monday.

Wiggins said White told elders he decided to resign because it would be best for the church and himself, Wiggins said.

Church elders learned from White on Dec. 24, less than a week after he reported his home being burglarized, that police suspected him of staging the crime, an allegation that he has denied, Wiggins said.

White was accused by police of staging the burglary to pay off debts for drugs owed to a juvenile accused of being an accomplice in the Dec. 18 burglary.

First Christian has organized a 5 p.m. time of prayer today in the church’s worship center, 531 5th St., where church elders will also be available to talk with members.

Read more details in Monday’s print edition of The Republic.

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