Months after Pastor Victor S. Couzens of Inspirational Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded with his congregants to start giving again while assuring them that he had not used their donations to finance relationships with multiple women, his church’s sprawling building is now up for sale.
The church located at 11450 Sebring Drive is currently listed for sale for $8 million on the commercial real estate platform LoopNet.com.
“Perfect for campus/education facility, medical or industrial user and charitable pickup center office - many possibilities. Additional land available for expansion. Currently operating as a church in EXCELLENT condition with many amenities. Large parking lot,” reads the investment summary for the just over 59,000 square-foot building that was built in 1984.
The Christian Post reached out to both Couzens and his church Thursday to discuss what prompted the sale but a response was not immediately available from the church, which celebrated its 62nd anniversary on Sunday.
“We’re celebrating 62 years of this church’s existence, we’re so grateful to the Lord for 62 years of ministry of the Inspirational Church. Let’s praise God for 62 years. Our lives are better because of Inspirational. Our city is better because of Inspirational,” Couzens declared during a broadcast of his church’s worship service on Sunday.
He explained that Sunday was Women’s Day and to celebrate that, the women were asked to give $50 above their regular giving. He said the previous Sunday, the church celebrated Men’s Day and they were asked to give sacrificially in a similar fashion.
“Our men did a phenomenal job. I gotta tell you the men stepped up in their giving. Our men really stepped up in their giving … Our men did so well in their giving last Sunday that they just about put us where we normally are in our giving. Which is around the $25,000 range, is where we generally … need to be,” he said suggesting that giving at the church had still not recovered prior to his scandal last year.
Bishop Paul S. Morton, founding presiding bishop of The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International which encompasses some 5,000 churches and 1 million members, confirmed last November that Couzens, whom he described as his "spiritual son," had engaged in "multiple" sexual relationships while he ran his then 5,000-member church.
Morton’s apology came after Andrea Garrison, a 31-year-old New York City model, went public about a long-term sexual relationship she had with Couzens after she discovered he was also seeing other women and lied to her about it.
Another unidentified woman, who is an educator, shared a story similar to Garrison's experience and alleged that Couzens paid for her education with "church checks" and took her on trips to places like Paris, France, during their time together.
Couzens later apologized to his congregation for the affairs but insisted to members who had stopped giving to the ministry as a result of the scandal that he did not use their donations to fund his lifestyle.
“Any check you have seen belongs to me, it does not belong to the church. Your tithe and your offering goes in the church’s bank account. I don’t have access to that account. I’m not a signer on that account. My understanding is that some have not been giving because they were concerned about where the money is going. If you need an excuse not to give, any excuse will do,” the embattled pastor said.