The ongoing legal standoff between pastor John Gray of Relentless Church and Redemption Church leaders Ron and Hope Carpenter, who are seeking to evict Relentless Church from property they own in South Carolina, is really “a fight over church members,” lawyers for Gray argue in court documents filed last Friday.
“In essence, this is not a dispute as much about leases and occupancy of church buildings, as much as it is a fight over church members. Pastor Gray has come into Greenville at the urging of Ron Carpenter, even moving to be here before school was out for the summer for his children, because Carpenter said he had to leave immediately for California,” lawyers for Gray argued in a response to Carpenter’s lawsuit to evict him and his Relentless Church from Redemption’s properties in Greenville.
“Now that the Grays and their staff have greatly increased attendance, increased giving, made $500,000.00 in repairs to buildings that have never been transferred as promised, cut expenses, tightened up accounting controls, reduced accounts payable by over 75% and even paid bills for Redemption that Relentless had no obligation to pay, Carpenter now wants to come back because the ministry is now in much better financial condition,” they added.
Gray was given until the end of 2019 to take his church elsewhere amid allegations that he had been “shady” and “dishonest” in executing a transition agreement with the Carpenters after they passed the reins of their Redemption Church campus to him in 2018.
The Relentless Church pastor agreed in part, according to court documents, to rebrand Redemption Church in Greenville as Relentless Church and assume all of the Carpenters’ debt obligations while they moved to San Jose, California, to officially become the new pastors of the 14,000-member Jubilee Christian Center, which they renamed Redemption.
“As an implicit part of that understanding, the GSC Ministries’ mortgage debt on The Properties would continue to be serviced by the GSC Ministries under Gray’s leadership and as rebranded by Gray,” the Carpenters argued in their lawsuit against Gray.
The Carpenters reportedly carried a debt of $8,715,250 on the church sanctuary used by Gray with a monthly mortgage of $69,994. They also carried a debt of $3,720,649.48 on The Imagine Center gym. The monthly interest-only mortgage payment would be $18,603.25 with an annual principal payment of $500,000.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair