A member of the church national evangelist Juanita Bynum opened with her husband said Friday that the congregation was told about marital problems between the couple during a recent service.
Bishop Thomas W. Weeks, who turned himself into police today for allegedly beating and choking his wife, had a heart-to-heart talk with his flock earlier this month. He alluded that there was trouble in paradise and that Bynum would have to take a lesser role in their church.
Bynum and her husband have been separated for three months, according to family.
Members of Global Destiny Church in Duluth were bewildered by the bishop’s strange announcement.
“He was really mean,” said Tiny Gilyard, 41, of Lawrenceville, who has attended Global Destiny Church for a year. “He said people come to church because of his wife. He explained that she is not going to be preaching anymore. He said she was just going to come and sit down.”
Gilyard said members of the church sat in their seats dumbstruck by the comments. A few, however, clapped their hands in support of him.
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“It made no sense,” she said. “It was like he was jealous of her. That was just so brazen to say in public.”
The preacher also talked about a rumors of a scandal in the church.
“He said people were trying to scandalize him in reference to having affairs,” Gilyard said.
Neither Bynum or Weeks have made mention of any affairs in police reports or public statements.
Bynum and her husband moved to metro Atlanta in 2006 to launch an international ministry together. Bynum also has a headquarters in Waycross, Ga. for the ministry she started before she married Weeks in 2002.
She has an international following for her message of empowerment to women. Bynum warns women not to lose themselves for love by having pre-marital sex. She urges them to walk away from dead-end relationships that have no potential for marriage.
Clergy say pastors with successful ministries can have relationship problems as well. Mixing love and ministerial work can take its toll on a union because the work of a pastor is demanding.
“It is tremendously hard to balance a relationship,” said the Rev. Cynthia L. Hale, pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church. “If you happen to be more successful than your spouse or make more money or have greater prestige that is where the challenge comes in. There are many men who are secure in life, but there are also men who are insecure and they have struggled with having their wives [or girlfriends] excel in ways they don’t.”
Gilyard came to the church because she thought it was Bynum’s. She kept going even when Bynum did not preach because she thought Weeks was a good pastor.
But she left the church the day he made the comments about his wife. And now that Weeks has be arrested, Gilyard says she will be looking for another place to worship.
“I’m not going back,” said Gilyard, who is engaged to be married. “How can he counsel people about their marriages if he can’t take care of his own business. That was his wife.”
Original title: Bishop told of marital woes