After nearly a year of public legal disputes over church property, megachurch pastors John Gray and Ron Carpenter Jr. have settled their differences after a successful mediation process, Carpenter said.
The peace deal between the megachurch pastors comes in the wake of an announcement by Carpenter earlier this month that he will return to Greenville, South Carolina, with a new campus of his Redemption Church in January 2021.
“Yesterday, everything was mutually agreed to. There are no more lawsuits. All legal matters are finished,” Carpenter told Greenville News on Saturday after a Vision Night event in Greenville.
Carpenter and his wife, Hope, moved their Redemption Church brand from Greenville to San Jose, California, in 2018 to take over as new pastors of the 14,000-member Jubilee Christian Center. In making the move, they passed the reins of the Greenville church they led for 27 years to Gray and his wife, Aventer, who rebranded the congregation Relentless Church.
After a slew of controversies, including Relentless Church's purchase of a $1.8 million home for the Grays and conflict over the transition agreement that involved debt on church facilities, the Carpenters filed a contentious eviction lawsuit against Gray in January that produced several claims and counterclaims. Gray’s lawyers argued in one counterclaim that the dispute was really “a fight over church members.”
Officials at Gray’s Relentless Church were not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Christian Post Monday. Carpenter also did not immediately respond to a request from CP for further comment.
Carpenter told Greenville News that he is now interested in mending fences with Gray.
“Nothing would make me happier than for it to come full circle,” Carpenter said when asked if Redemption and Relentless would work together in the future.
“I’ve known Pastor John Gray for 16 years. We have broke bread together, we have stayed in each other’s houses, we preached together in the same circles and the same conferences. I want all of those fences to be mended,” Carpenter said.
The Redemption Church leader, who founded the ministry with his wife Hope, met with about 1,000 people at the Vision Night event held at the Greenville Convention Center Saturday and many of them had been members of Redemption before becoming spiritually homeless after the Carpenters left for California, Greenville News reported.
“My plans did not go as I desired, and I needed to own some of the chaos and drama connected to that. That was certainly not my intention, but I felt like people deserved an apology,” Carpenter said. “Just because you intend well don’t mean it always goes well and the fact is people were living in a decision that I made, and I feel very responsible.”
Heather Montgomery, Relentless Church’s director of communications, noted in a statement Friday that their church “wishes Redemption nothing but the best.”
"Relentless Church became aware of Redemption’s return to South Carolina at the same time the general public was informed," she said. "Although Relentless is in no way associated with Redemption Church or its return to Greenville, Relentless wishes Redemption nothing but the best. Relentless’ vision for the spiritual growth of its congregation and the Greenville community has never been stronger and it will continue to serve for many years to come."