Hope Hilley Carpenter, wife of Pastor Ron Carpenter, has addressed for the very first time their marital woes that were made public last year before the congregation she and her husband founded over 20 years ago. Mrs. Carpenter repented and apologized to members of Redemption World Outreach Center, but did not cite the specific sins or behavior she regards as stumbling blocks to her husband, family and church community.
This past Sunday, Pastor Carpenter took a few minutes before his wife joined him before the congregation to touch on his sermon series, "What Makes a Man?" Carpenter referenced Ephesians 5:25 and 1 Corinthians 13, the first a Bible passage that call on husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the Church, and the second a reminder to believers that love is the greatest virtue.
When Carpenter finally transitioned from his brief sermon to call his wife before the congregation, worshippers stood to their feet, many of them clapping and some of them hooting in joy, according to a video recording of the service.
"Well, I knew this day would come," said Mrs. Carpenter once the applause died down and she was seated next to her husband at the front of the church. "I've been waiting to be able to talk to you and just kinda share from my heart.
"There's no way I could take this time, and we don't have enough time for me to really adequately tell you my journey, tell you what God's done for me."
"That'll be in a book maybe," she added jokingly. "It'll take a long time."
"But I did want to come to you today and apologize to you. That's my sole purpose," said Mrs. Carpenter, visibly holding back tears. When she paused to wipe her eyes, a few voices from the congregation could be heard yelling, "We love you!"
"You know I normally don't need to use notes, so today I had to write everything down so I wouldn't forget what I wanted to say the most," Mrs. Carpenter continued. "I'm so thankful to the Lord for just allowing me this day, for being so gracious to me and so merciful and so good.
"I'm so thankful for you ... I don't know that I could have healed or that I could have recovered at another church, pastoring another people. You're just so special and you're a rare breed. And I'm so grateful to the Lord for being here today. … I know so many people never make it to this place."
Mrs. Carpenter went on to say, "I am fully aware of the pain and the hurt that I caused so many people. I haven't been just skipping along worrying about me and my family … I'm fully aware of how broad it reaches. And I probably don't know how far it goes, but I know that I have hurt you and I've hurt many people …"
"I hurt my husband, who is your pastor," she continued. "You have no idea the depth of pain that we've walked through. I jeopardized everything that we had built. Our time, our energy, our money, our resources, our family, our church, our retirement. And I know that trust takes a long time to be regained and I'm willing to walk through it and take the time to get his trust back."
By that point in her remarks, both Pastor and Mrs. Carpenter were wiping the tears from their face.
Mrs. Carpenter went on to apologize to their children, saying, "I know I compromised my values, and that I said one thing and did another. And I hurt you. I allowed things into our home that affected you. I left you, I left you through those selfish years. And I'm so sorry."
In her tearful remarks, Mrs. Carpenter went on to apologize to her parents as well. "My parents tried to reach out to me during those years as any good parent would, and I pushed them away and I hurt them deeply. I lost time with my parents, years. My parents lost time with their grandchildren because of my rebellion. You can't get that back. And I'm so sorry that I hurt you," she said. Mrs. Carpenter went on to share that during the "whole year of (her) recovery," her parents never left her side.
Mrs. Carpenter also addressed the leaders and staff of the church, the women of the congregation, and Redemption World Outreach Congregation "as a whole." "I repent to you," she said, for her conduct being a stumbling block to the well-being of the church and its members.
Mrs. Carpenter promised the congregation that until her husband, family and those aiding in her restoration felt confident that her life was back in order, the Redemption World Outreach Center congregation would not see her standing before them again.
"I feel like our best days are ahead of us, and I'm so excited and so grateful for what God's done in our house and in our family," she added.
Although Mrs. Carpenter did not name any specific sins or actions that had upset her family and the RWOC congregation, Pastor Carpenter revealed in October 2013 that their marriage had been rocked by infidelity for the past 10 years. At the time, the megachurch pastor attributed the turmoil to his wife's unspecified "sickness."
Mrs. Carpenter first returned to the Greenville, South Carolina, church in February after spending time in an unidentified facility that she had previously checked into voluntarily. During her absence, however, her husband had expressed to the congregation that despite initially proclaiming his intent to divorce, that he actually was committed to making their marriage work.
Based on this past Sunday's message and the updates Pastor Carpenter has been sharing on his social networks, it appears the couple, married for 23 years and parents to three children, are determined to mend their marriage.
The Carpenters founded Redemption World Outreach Center in 1991 with just three people and "a passion for breaking down the walls of racism, crossing cultural lines, and changing poverty mindsets..." The multiracial RWOC congregation, affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, spans three campuses and is home to about 19,000 members.
Watch Pastor and Mrs. Carpenters' remarks to the Redemption World Outreach Congregation in the video player below: