Celebration Church Lawsuit

It’s a little harder to celebrate at Celebration Church these days. The church, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is embroiled in litigation. The church’s trustees ousted its founding pastor, Stovall Weems, in January, and he has filed a lawsuit against the church, seeking reinstatement and demanding an investigation of “any and all wrongdoing.” The church countered with a motion to dismiss Weems’ complaint, alleging significant financial mis-management by Pastor Stovall and his wife Kerri Weems in 2021 that it is now investigating.

This is a huge church. It claims about 12,000 members, with campuses in Florida, North Carolina, Washington DC, as well as in Europe and Africa. Many people, both within and outside the church, are watching. We can only pray that the court will agree with the church that the county circuit court does not have jurisdiction over ecclesiastical matters, and dismiss the lawsuit, allowing the parties to resolve this conflict with the assistance of fellow believers, as the Apostle Paul admonishes in I Corinthians 6:1-7.

An ironic sidebar to this story is that, if you Google “Celebration Church lawsuit,” you’ll discover another church named Celebration, in Minnesota, that dealt with its own internal lawsuit a few years ago, also over alleged financial mis-management.  It’s not clear how that case was resolved. If it was resolved privately, within the church, it would probably not show up in Google. Let’s hope that’s why we don’t know the outcome of that dispute.

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