Earl Paulk Archive

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Ex-megachurch head Earl Paulk dies in Atlanta hospital

Bishop dogged by abuse allegations dies

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — Bishop Earl Paulk, a charismatic preacher brought down by a series of sex scandals, has died. He was 81.

Bishop Earl Paulk died this weekend at 81.

Paulk died near midnight Saturday at the Atlanta Medical Center, a nursing supervisor confirmed to CNN. The bishop had been at the hospital for several days, she said.

Paulk’s death came after an “extended and horrible battle with cancer,” Paulk’s nephew, Bishop Jim Swilley, wrote in a blog post.

Paulk founded the Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta. It quickly grew to become one of the first megachurches in the country.

– Source: Bishop dogged by abuse allegations dies, CNN, Mart. 29, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Ex-megachurch head Paulk dies in Atlanta hospital

Bishop Earl Paulk gained the attention of presidents and preached to hundreds of thousands of people, but he may be remembered for the sex scandals that rocked the Atlanta-area megachurch he started.

Paulk, the 81-year-old founder of the Cathedral at Chapel Hill in South DeKalb County, died Sunday at Atlanta Medical Center after battling cancer for years.

His brother, Don Paulk, said Earl Paulk was taken to the hospital Jan. 1 with a blockage of his intestines and never left.

Don Paulk, a retired minister at the Cathedral, said he hoped people would remember his brother for his good works and forgive the scandals. “Preachers are just like anyone else — they’re a man,” he said.

Numerous women have said they slept with Earl Paulk. It was disclosed in 2007 that DNA testing had proved he was the biological father of Don Paulk’s son, the Rev. D.E. Paulk, now leader of the church.

Earl Paulk’s low point may have come in January 2008, when the bishop pleaded guilty to lying under oath by denying affairs with other women. A judge fined Paulk $1,000 and put him on probation for 10 years.

A lawsuit by a former female church employee had sparked the chain of events leading to the guilty plea. Mona Brewer alleged that Paulk coerced her into a 14-year affair.

She said in a telephone interview Sunday that her suit against the church will “absolutely” continue.

Paulk’s influence peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, when he was a national leader among independent charismatic churches. He built a huge, racially integrated congregation at the Cathedral at Chapel Hill. Membership was about 10,000 in the early 1990s.

Paulk enlarged his influence with his books and televised church services. President Ronald Reagan invited Paulk to a White House prayer breakfast, and President George H.W. Bush named Paulk’s public housing ministry one of his thousand points of light.

But the congregation shrank as Paulk’s sexual indiscretions came to light. Officials last year announced that the church campus is on the market for $24.5 million. Its membership had dwindled to about 1,000.

– Source: Ex-megachurch head Paulk dies in Atlanta hospital, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mar. 29, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Couple ordered to pay $1M in case against Earl Paulk

A Superior Court judge has ordered a couple and their attorney suing Bishop Earl Paulk to pay more than $1 million in legal fees and court costs from a dismissed case.

Mona and Bobby Brewer sued Paulk and his church, then known as Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, asserting sexual misconduct. Mona Brewer claimed in the suit she had a 14-year coercive affair with Paulk.

The Brewers dropped their years-old suit last July, but each filed a separate suit in state court later in the year.

The judge entered the order last Friday for costs incurred by three different legal firms who defended Paulk in the Superior Court case.

Matthew Wilkins of King & Yaklin, one of Paulk’s firms, said they are still reviewing the order and had no comment.

Louis Levenson of Levenson & Associates, the Brewer’s attorney, said he has not seen the order. Levenson and the Brewers were ordered to pay the fees.

Paulk was one of Atlanta’s preeminent preachers in the 1980s and 1990s. He had a church of 10,000 and an international ministry and TV program. A series of allegations of sexual misconduct plagued his work, and Paul lost influence and his ministry.

He still goes to the church, now called the Cathedral at Chapel Hill, but has dropped from public sight. Attendance on the mammoth campus has dropped dramatically.