Just over a month after serving Pastor John Gray’s Relentless Church with a 30-day notice of termination for buildings they were leasing from Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina, Redemption’s founders, pastors Ron and Hope Carpenter, have now asked a local court to evict the celebrity preacher.
Gray was given until the end of 2019 to vacate the property amid allegations that he had been “shady” and “dishonest” in executing an agreement with the Carpenters after they passed the reins of their Redemption Church to him in 2018 which he rebranded as Relentless Church.
In court documents cited by the Greenville News Thursday, Redemption argued that Relentless Church had proposed an asset transfer agreement for the properties, which Redemption initially agreed to. Gray’s church allegedly failed to deliver or execute the agreement which should have included written leases. That failure on the part of Relentless Church, the Carpenters argue, invalidated the initial agreement, forcing Redemption Church to remove their support as well.
Gray was allegedly expected to rebrand and assume the debt and mortgage obligations of Redemption Church but he incorporated Relentless as a new organization instead and tried to purchase Redemption's assets, the court filing argues.
Relentless Church reportedly also chose to operate on a month-to-month lease and was unable to cover debt on The Imagine Center. To prevent the property from going into foreclosure, Redemption Church said it had to cover the debt that should have been paid by Relentless Church.
"Redemption is unable to continue to absorb the mounting debts and past due accounts associated with the Greenville property during Relentless’ tenancy and therefore has no other option but to seek to regain possession of the property sooner rather than later," Katari Buck, an attorney representing Redemption Church told Greenville News in a statement.
Redemption Church is asking the court to declare Relentless in default and that the church has no right to remain on the property which they are currently refusing to vacate.
Gray said in a statement to Greenville News that he dealt with the Carpenters honorably, adding that the dispute will be addressed in court.
"We stand behind our original statement and are confident that the payment amounts required under the leases referenced in the complaint have and will continue to be paid," Gray said. "Our efforts at mediation and with wise counsel to present every detail absent of legal have proven fruitless on their end multiple times."
He further added: "To the Relentless Church family, please note, we have dealt honorably and have utilized every possible measure to resolve these differences to date. We will continue to serve the Lord, reach the lost, and serve the community. This unfortunate issue will not hinder the vision, work, functionality, or heart of this church."
In 2018, after handing the keys of their church to Gray, the Carpenters moved to San Jose, California, to officially become the new pastors of the 14,000-member Jubilee Christian Center, which they renamed Redemption.