MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monumental Baptist Church, known around the world for its role in the Civil Rights Movement and for being the church led by the late Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles, finds itself embroiled in controversy.

Monday, there were prayers and protests against pastor Rev. Wade Bryant outside the church on South Parkway.

“Monumental is a great church. We all love each other like it’s a family, but in any family you’re going to have problems. Right now we have a problem with the head of our church,” said church member Robert Lee Downey.

A legal complaint filed in court pits Monumental Baptist or Rev. Wade Bryant against three members of the congregation. The church is filing a restraining order against William Gordon, Joseph Matthews and Tom Clay Junior.

“I’ve been in church 75 years and I have never witnessed someone being kept out of the church because they disagree with what’s going on in the church,” Downey said.

The complaint also states the defendants acting as members of the Trustee Board issued a letter of termination to Pastor Bryant, and after an unlawful attempt to fire him, the defendants had a locksmith to change the locks of the church.

According to a letter in the complaint, Pastor Bryant is not welcome to return to Monumental Baptist as a guest or otherwise and any attempt to visit the church will be treated as an act of trespassing and will result in your forcible removal by law enforcement, and the pressing of charges.

Sunday, church members say the pastor showed up with security.

“I feel like if the pastor was not wrong, he wouldn’t have gotten people to try to block us from coming into church,” said church member Richard Williams.

“He was there when Rev. Kyles was there and we were going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but as time progressed he got worse and the members started leaving,” Williams said. “The leadership (Bryant) wouldn’t communicate with us. Taxation without representation has started wars and that’s what we go. We’re paying our money, but we got no say so,” Downey said.

WREG reached out to Pastor Bryant for comment, but so far he hasn’t responded. For now, this disagreement is headed to court as an iconic Memphis church prays for answers.

“The Lord takes care of us and he takes care of all of us and this is his church and he’s going to work this out,” Downey said.

Several Monumental Baptist Church members said they expect the case to be in Chancery Court on May 5.