JUNE 26, 2015 NORCROSS Bishop William Sheals, senior pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, speaks during a town hall meeting against gay marriage in Norcross, Friday, June 26, 2015. In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Constitution requires states to license same-sex marriage and to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed elsewhere. KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM
Photo: Kent D. Johnson
Photo: Kent D. Johnson

How did a pastor’s blessing lead to a traumatic brain injury?

Yvonne Byrd thought she would be getting a blessing from the pastor at her Norcross megachurch. Instead, he knocked her unconscious, according to a lawsuit filed in Gwinnett County state court. 

Bishop Williams Sheals began “blessing” members of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church congregation by touching their heads. When it was Byrd’s turn, she was hit with enough force to cause a traumatic brain injury, according to her lawsuit. 

Byrd was treated at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center. She is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages for personal injuries, medical expenses and permanent physical and psychological damages, the lawsuit states.

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