Accusations and counter-accusations are flying after a Florida megachurch pastor was ousted from his job.
It started in April when Celebration Church in Jacksonville released a 22-page report by a law firm that conducted an investigation into Pastor Stovall Weems and his wife Kerri.
“This case presents an egregious example of what happens when a group of people decides to weaponize false information to inflict harm and advance their personal and economic agendas, demonize someone they target as an adversary and deceive the public into believing salacious lies are true,” the Weems’ amended complaint alleges.
They called it a "nefarious coup" and a "bogus" report.
The report contained multiple allegations of impropriety.
"The single word used most frequently to describe Stovall Weems was: narcissist. When asked to describe Weems, nearly every witness we interviewed used that specific word. Many witnesses detailed, often through tears, instances when Weems personally belittled and humiliated them for minor mistakes or misunderstanding Weems’ inconsistent and confusing directives. Worse, Weems created and fostered an environment in which he was not subject to accountability. Many witnesses explained that the first rule to survive at the Church was “We don’t say no to Pastor.” In this way, he was able to impose his will on others to force their compliance with his demands," the report alleged.
There is an entire section in the report entitled, "The Encounter."
"The Encounter was a pivotal moment in Celebration’s history. At a Seder service on Passover in 2018, Stovall Weems claimed he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ," the report said. "Guest pastor Paul Wilbur, a messianic Jew, came to explain and reenact the ancient Hebrew/Judaic Passover Supper at Celebration. At the event, Weems became transfixed on a piece of bread he was holding. Weems stared blankly at the bread for a long time and then appeared bewildered, stunned, and speechless as his attention turned back to the events on the stage."
Weems then told an extraordinary story.
Weems described that he had seen Jesus on the stage and been transported to the Last Supper the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. Weems claims that he was physically with Jesus Christ and that Jesus spoke with him, directing his attention to the future and what Christ wanted for the Weemses to accomplish on Earth. Weems described Jesus as having dark hair, a white robe, and speaking in Hebrew. This report takes no position on whether the Encounter was real. There is no way to confirm or deny—legally or factually—what was going on inside Weems’ mind during that time. There is evidence that the Weemses were under a tremendous amount of personal stress during this time that may have impacted Weems’ mindset that evening," the report explained. "regardless, after the Encounter things changed dramatically. Most witnesses recall that event was the catalyst for dramatically changed behaviors and actions by the Weemses in the following years."
Kerri Weems reportedly considered suicide after "The Encounter."
"For months following the Encounter, Weems struggled to form words or communicate effectively. He was disengaged in business meetings with staff and cried frequently. The Encounter magnified his demand for control and his defiance to authority or accountability. Anyone—trustees, pastors, senior leaders, employees—who did not serve the needs of the Weemses was replaced. Anyone who challenged Weems’ judgment or control of the Church was removed. He and Kerri Weems frequently repeated that the Board reported to them, not the other way around. Weems said that while he may have needed Overseers during his younger years, he no longer felt he did. Most staff members described 2019 as a very confusing time. Weems struggled to process the Encounter and every decision was based on a disjointed understanding of its meaning," the report said.
Watch "The Encounter" below or at this link.
Paul Wilbur Ministries Good Friday/Special Passover Seder First Friday March 30th 2018 ! youtu.be