PODCAST: Celebration Church in Jacksonville caught up in legal dispute with former pastors (BCNN1 03.25.22)

This is the Black Christian News Network One breaking news podcast. Here are the breaking news stories you need to know about today.

How Is It That We Can Have Another Demonic Megachurch Fiasco, Similar to the Ron Carpenter and John Gray Situation Which Happened Right Before the Coronavirus Plague, and Now We Have Another Demonic Megachurch Fiasco That Involves Tim Timberlake and Stovall Weems Inside the Coronavirus Plague? Is It Because of Foolish “Faith” Talk and Not Doing the Right Thing by Praying First, Then Getting Wise Outside Church Counsel and Wise Christian Legal Counsel Before the Transition Is Done? Churches Should Not Allow the Devil to Do This Because It Will Cause the Church to Lose Its Testimony in the Community and Cause Irreparable Damage for Years to Come. In Addition to the Article, Here Is What People in the City Are Saying About This Unnecessary Demonic Fiasco. P.S.: BCNN1 Suggests That it Would Help Pastor Tim Timberlake and all Other Pastors Who Have Effeminate Braided Hairstyles to Get Rid of Them. We Really Don’t Need That in the Church Right Now Because of the Present Situation and it Sends the Wrong Signal to Nearly Every Age Group. We Think That People in the Church and People in the World Would Take These Pastors More Seriously if They Would Avoid Effeminate Hairstyles and Earrings in Their Ears, etc. It is Your Choice Brothers. I Really Do Not Know if You Really Have the Liberty to Do That Based on This Verse: 1 Corinthians 11:14 says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The Church and the World Has Noticed That Many Male Homosexuals Wear These Hairstyles. According to News4Jax, The senior pastor of Celebration Church, one of the largest churches in Jacksonville, took a moment during Sunday morning service to address a legal dispute between the church and its founding pastors. Tim Timberlake, who was installed as Celebration Church’s senior pastor in September 2021 to succeed Stovall Weems, acknowledged the civil court case that involves allegations of financial misconduct and fraud. “I could have never imagined as we transitioned, me and Jen, into leadership that things would unfold the way that they have,” said Timberlake to the congregation. “To be honest with you, it’s our board of trustees and our church’s attorneys’ desire to keep those matters private that are now public. Not to hide anything, but just because we care about the former leaders. Unfortunately, other parties involved did not desire to do those things.” Stovall and Kerri Weems, who founded Celebration Church in 1998, filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief against the church in late February. The injunction said a Celebration Church trustee was improperly billing the church for construction-type services at its Honey Lake Farms property in Madison County and turned the other trustees against Stovall Weems, leading to his suspension. The Weemses said they’ve been threatened with arrest if they enter church property. Celebration Church filed a motion to dismiss the injunction. The motion said this is the “latest chapter in a campaign of deception, manipulation, distraction, and abuse of power by Stovall and Kerri Weems against Celebration.” Celebration Church’s motion said the trustees requested an investigation into the founding pastors when they discovered the Weemses “engaged in a series of questionable financial transactions without board knowledge or authorization” in early 2021.

According to the Christian Post, Rev. Cedric V. Alexander, a retired pastor with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Inc., has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that the denomination lost some 70% or nearly $100 million from its retirement plan through “foolish” and risky investments, which have hurt about 5,000 participants financially. The 49-page federal complaint was filed Tuesday in Maryland, where Alexander resides. The document alleges that Jerome V. Harris, the former executive director of the denomination’s Department of Retirement Services, was “given sole authority to invest tens of millions of AMEC clergy’s and other Church servants’ retirement savings in a questionable and potentially unlawful purchase of undeveloped land in Florida, a promissory note to an Illinois installer of solar panels, and an even more foolish investment in a now non-existent capital venture outfit.” And while all of this was happening, church officials kept reporting to the plan’s beneficiaries that their retirement funds were safely flourishing as investments in annuities from Symetra Financial. “This suit is about a complete and total abrogation of these fiduciary responsibilities by Defendants, resulting in numerous breaches of duty and resulting in a single, unmonitored individual, Defendant Harris, controlling all Plan assets and investments,” the complaint says. Alexander, who retired in September 2020 after more than two decades of service in the historically black church denomination, said from Jan. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2021, his retirement account showed a balance of $86,631.75. On Sept. 13, 2021, he requested a rollover of his funds from the church’s plan to an individual retirement account. He was informed in October 2021 by Rev. James Miller, the newly elected executive director of the denomination’s Department of Retirement Services, that his request could not be accommodated due to a pending audit and the church’s retirement funds being frozen. Miller followed up with a letter in November telling participants in the retirement plan that the audit was taking longer than expected. On Dec. 14, 2021, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the denomination was investigating “possible financial irregularities” with its retirement fund investments.

Sad: Brian Houston-Hillsong’s Tragic Fallout: Sam Collier, the First-ever Black Lead Pastor of a Hillsong Church in Atlanta, Has Announced He Is Stepping Down From His Position in the Wake of the Slew of Scandals Surrounding the Church and Its Founder, Brian Houston. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Less than a year after launching Hillsong Atlanta, Lead Pastor Sam Collier has resigned. Collier cited multiple scandals involving the global megachurch, which is based in Australia, including that of its co-founder Brian Houston, who recently resigned after accusations of inappropriate behavior toward two women. There were also allegations of sexual abuse and threats involving another pastor in New York, which occurred six months before the launch of the Atlanta church. Despite corrective action by the megachurch that includes an independent investigation, Collier said it was too late. While Hillsong Atlanta tried to push through the adversity, the scandals and news reports and “the church’s subsequent management of these attacks,” have been a challenge, he said. “It became a lot for a our church, for a young church,” he said. “A lot of our members were becoming really fatigued with a lot of the scandals and having to talk about it so much. I say this all the time that trust is the only thing you have when building a church. People have to trust you if they’re going to donate and if they’re going to support it.” Collier, who grew up in Atlanta, the son of a pastor, described crying like a baby before turning in his resignation to the global nondenominational church, which has attracted diverse and young congregants. However, Collier, 33, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, is not going away. He plans to launch Story Church on Easter Sunday. Services will be held at Center Stage Atlanta on Peachtree Road. Collier said he and his wife, Toni, had talked about starting a church before joining the Hillsong family. Collier said he does not know whether Hillsong Atlanta will continue as a church and that decision would be left to the global megachurch.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com.

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!