Juanita Bynum, a preacher whose fiery and frank sermons about women’s empowerment have won her a national following, was attacked by her husband in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel early Wednesday morning, police said.
Bynum, whose ministry is based in Waycross, and her estranged husband, Thomas W. Weeks III, had met up at Renaissance Concourse Hotel near Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to try to reconcile, Atlanta police said.
But while at the parking lot about 4 a.m., the two got into a physical fight until a bellman at the hotel pulled Bynum’s husband off her, Officer Ronald Campbell said.
“She was bruised up and battered,” Campbell said. “She had purple bruising around her neck and upper torso.”
The husband, who is also a preacher, left the scene. No charges have been filed against him, according to police.
Police found out about the fray from a staff member at Piedmont Hospital, where Bynum was taken for a checkup. She could not be reached Wednesday night.
A popular Pentecostal evangelist, Bynum lives in Hempstead, N.Y., but her administrative offices are in Waycross. She is open about her past, freely talking about sex and being on welfare, hospitalized with a mental breakdown, divorced and spiritually broken.
Once a homemaker, a hairdresser and a flight attendant, Bynum’s big break came when Bishop T.D. Jakes invited her to speak at one of his conferences several years ago. Her ministry took off a couple of years later after she gave her unrehearsed “No More Sheets” sermon on breaking free of sexual promiscuity at a singles event.
Since then, she has parlayed her tough-love evangelism into a one-woman industry, writing several best-selling books, recording inspirational CDs and preaching to millions through televised sermons.
She has been a regular at Megafest, Jakes’ four-day festival of worship, music, education and praise that drew thousands every year it took place in Atlanta.
Her 2002 wedding to Weeks, who started the Global Destiny churches nationwide, was televised and, according to media reports, featured a gown with a bodice covered in crystals and a 7.76-carat diamond ring.
Staff researcher Nisa Asokan contributed to this report.
Aug. 22, 2007