Thomas Weeks Archive

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Husband of Juanita Bynum says she abused him

ATLANTA – The estranged husband of evangelist Juanita Bynum says in a new book that she has tried to use a highly publicized physical altercation to revive her own flagging ministry.

The self-published book by minister Thomas Weeks III includes chapters with titles such as “I Would Rather Push You Now Than Punch You Later” and “She Wanted to Be Oprah at Any Cost” and says it was Weeks who suffered physical and emotional abuse in the relationship.

In the 153-page “What Love Taught Me,” Weeks says the Aug. 21 dispute was nothing more than a continuation of the “heated fellowship” the two ministers engaged in during their marriage. The scuffle between the two in a hotel parking lot landed Weeks in jail on charges he pushed, choked and beat Bynum, and he ultimately pleaded guilty to assaulting her. He is serving three years of probation.

Weeks claims his wife instigated the parking lot incident and used it to paint herself as a poster girl for domestic violence and to boost her ministry.

“Ultimately, she had to have a plot and a plan to destroy my credibility, to leak issues that were in the process of being resolved … so that she could get out of the marriage almost blameless,” he wrote.

Weeks said he wrote the book in the days after his arrest. Within days, Bynum announced her intentions to become “the new face of domestic violence” and last week, she appeared in a two-part episode of “Divorce Court” offering advice to a couple dealing with alleged abuse in their marriage – moves Weeks said were indicative of her desire for more secular fame.

“She needed a way out of the marriage so that she could keep her following, possibly grow her following … develop a cause that can support her without preaching and promote her secular career, while ending her marriage,” Weeks wrote. “Juanita was tired of preaching. She was tired of the conference circuit. She was more bored.”

Amy Malone, Bynum’s publicist, said Monday she had not seen the book and could not comment. Bynum did not immediately respond to a request through Malone for a response to Weeks’ claims.

The book is Weeks’ most lengthy public statement about their marriage. He remained largely silent while charges from his criminal case loomed and because he held out hope for reconciliation with Bynum, who filed for divorce.

Weeks said he is telling his story to help others heal, to clear his name and to bring balance to the story that has unraveled over the past eight months.

Weeks said in the book that they both had strong personalities and that there were times when their arguments turned violent.

In one altercation Weeks describes, he says Bynum became enraged and choked him when he was distracted on his laptop computer while riding home in a limousine after a black tie affair in New York. Weeks claims that a few months later, Bynum punched him in the face and neck while he was sleeping.

Weeks said Bynum was the instigator of both incidents and that he walked away.

“I decided a long time ago to become a man avoiding domestic violence,” Weeks wrote. “My internal mantra was I would rather push you now than have to punch you later. I can count at least 20 to 25 times I had to get out of the room before things escalated, and some of those times I had to push her out of the way as a result of her trying to keep me in the room where things could have gotten much more serious.”

The night of Aug. 21 was an example of such a situation, Weeks said.

According to him, the couple had just finished arguing at the Renaissance Hotel when Weeks left and headed for his vehicle.

Bynum followed, blocking the driver’s side door and began to cause a scene, Weeks said. He says she then swung at him with a cell phone in her hand.

“Avoiding her swing to my head, I pushed her away with great force causing her to hit the ground pretty hard,” he said. “I paused and looked at her because I have never pushed her that hard.”

By morning, reports of the confrontation were circulating on the Internet and in the media and Weeks turned himself in two days later to face charges of aggravated assault and making terroristic threats.

Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity. Among her books are “No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex” and “Matters of the Heart.” She has recorded top-selling Gospel albums and also preaches through televised sermons.

Weeks – who is known to his followers as Bishop Weeks and is the pastor and co-founder of Global Destiny Ministries in Duluth – co-wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings” with Bynum.

• Original title: Televangelist’s husband says she abused him

Sentenced bishop Thomas Weeks back at pulpit Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the year in Christianity, a pastor who has sinned will stand before his flock.

Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III, the leader of Global Destiny Ministries, will be back at his pulpit in Duluth to remind his Pentecostal congregation that man is not perfect.

Nearly two weeks ago, Weeks, 40, was sentenced to three years probation, 200 hours of community service and anger management classes for the Aug. 21 aggravated assault on his estranged wife, national evangelist Juanita Bynum, 49.

Weeks makes no excuses for his behavior in the parking lot of the Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta. He has apologized to Bynum for “losing control” and has apologized to his congregation.

But forgiving Weeks and Bynum for the fall-out surrounding their public split won’t be so easy for some, even on Resurrection Sunday.

Both Weeks and Bynum, headed for divorce, have accused each other of abuse and revealed secrets about their stormy relationship to the national media. Their public battle fractured Global Destiny. It also has spread doubt among some who question whether they could ever be credible leaders of Christian family ministries again.

“When something like this happens, it kind of makes you want to say what’s the point, if they didn’t make it, then all the stuff they were preaching about us learning how to love each other was in vain,” said Robert Graves, a former member of Global Destiny who was the church’s organist. “I have learned not to get caught up into personalities.”

Pentecostal leaders say only time and a deepening of faith can heal the wounds suffered by the church during the Weeks-Bynum abuse case.

“Both of them have been great leaders in ministry,” said Weeks’ mentor Bishop Andrew C. Turner II, leader of Covenant Worship Center of California. Because people tend to “idolize” leaders, says Turner, some Christians have become disillusioned and “turned a cold shoulder to God and to the ministry.”

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, assistant presiding bishop of Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, believes that Weeks and Bynum can sustain their credibility if they humbly seek God in prayer and learn from their mistakes.

“I believe that it all begins with true self-examination, true repentance and seeking God’s face,” said Ellis, pastor of Greater Grace Temple, a 6,500 member church in Detroit.

Weeks said the experience of facing felony charges and the anger management training he will receive will equip him to be a better teacher to couples facing relationship troubles. “What I have walked through has given me a Phd,” he said.

Weeks has shared some of those lessons in the book “What Love Taught Me,” a memoir about his marriage.

Members of Global Destiny who have remained faithful to the church continue to support Weeks and his endeavors. “The way I look at it, we are all human and you are supposed to build one anotherup and not tear one another down,” Margaret Wright, a church member said. “You have to walk in love and go after God for yourself.”

Bynum’s ministry continues to grow despite critics who post messages on Web logs doubting her skill as a “prophetess” because they say she didn’t forsee the trouble she would have married to Weeks. She still packs Pentecostals into pews for prayer services.

In the past month, Bynum has appeared at two prayer workshops in Boston; she spoke at a women’s spirituality and empowerment conference in Texas and has given weekly sermons on her radio show, “Church in the Air,” which is broadcast on Radio 1000, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The show has led to other monthly appearances for Bynum in the city.

Soon, Bynum will be returning to Detroit to resume her weekly 5 a.m. prayer services at Ellis’ $36 million church campus, Greater Grace Temple. Before taking a break, she attracted as many as 2,500 people on Wednesdays in the snow and rain for 14 weeks, said Ellis. “I think that she has a great anointing on her life. We have had 200 to 300 people sleeping overnight in the church beginning in anticipation for the 5 a.m. prayer service.”

Turner, Weeks’ mentor, said he is sure Weeks and Bynum will rebuild their reputations and continue to grow their flocks even if their lives move in different directions.

“Life brings a lot of pressure,” Turner said. “Some of us are not skilled enough to handle it … but Christ loves us when we are good and when we are bad.”