Arbroath Town Mission directors stood outside the centre and prayed that God would rid it of evil spirits following the sacking of an employee.
The extraordinary events were contained in minutes taken from a board meeting in August which emerged during an employment tribunal hearing in Dundee on Monday.
Wilma Swankie, who was named Arbroath’s Citizen of the Year in 2015, is proceeding with legal action against Arbroath Town Mission on the basis she was fired for going to the Scottish charity regulator OSCR.
Miss Swankie was dismissed in July 2017 and solicitor Nick Whelan said the following month’s board meeting discussed two subsequent resignation letters it had received from its members in response to Miss Swankie’s sacking.
Mr Whelan read out a section from the minutes to the centre’s current manager, Moira Milton, who was giving evidence before employment judge Ian McFatridge.
He said: “Dave (Webster) said there was something heavy over the Mission and Derek (Marshall) felt an invisible line between the Mission and the centre whenever he came into the building.
“The battle was not against flesh and blood but was a spiritual battle and Derek suggested that we go around and pray for it to take it back.
“The members then all went around the building, the garden, and the garden room, and prayed that God would remove all evil from the place and fill it with His Holy Spirit.”
Mr Whelan asked Mrs Milton: “Was he (Derek Marshall) referring to Wilma there?”
“I don’t know who he was referring to,” she replied.
Mr Whelan said: “But you were there and you went praying round the building, weren’t you?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Well what were you praying for?” he asked.
“That the Lord would remove any obstacle and that the Holy Spirit would be free to do whatever was God’s will.”
“Was the evil you were referring to Wilma?” asked Mr Whelan.
“No,” she said. “There’s a spirit world, there’s the Devil and there’s the Holy Spirit.”
“So is Wilma on the side of the Devil?” Mr Whelan asked.
Mrs Milton replied: “No, nobody is mentioning anything about Wilma being the Devil.”
Mr Whelan said Mr Webster suggested they should pray to rid the building of the heavy presence immediately after the discussion about Miss Swankie “having a hand” in the subsequent resignations.
“He is referring to Wilma isn’t he?” said Mr Whelan.
“If the pastor had felt that there was something blocking the full freedom of the Holy Spirit being in control then it’s quite normal for people to pray and ask the Lord to remove that dark evil spirit.”
Miss Swankie, who had been employed by the organisation since 1987, brought the action on the basis of the Protected Disclosures Act which provides protection for whistleblowing employees.
Miss Swankie had raised concerns with OSCR over the Town Mission’s constitution.
She had been a vocal opponent of it being a requirement that Town Mission members belonged to a church, despite this position being confirmed in a board vote.
OSCR did not uphold Miss Swankie’s complaint but she was subsequently dismissed from her £20,000 a year job as centre manager.
The tribunal on Monday heard Miss Swankie was offered the chance to resign before she was sacked for “bringing the organisation into serious disrepute” and showing “no remorse for her actions”.
Mr Whelan asked Mrs Milton: “Were you holding a gun to Wilma’s head and saying if you retire we’ll sweep this under the carpet?”
“No,” she replied.
The tribunal continues.