Thanks to mediation, an ongoing dispute between two South Carolina megachurch pastors is now settled. As ChurchLeaders has reported, Pastor Ron Carpenter, founder of Redemption Church, and Pastor John Gray, who’d rebranded Carpenter’s Greenville, South Carolina, campus as Relentless Church, were caught up in a bungled succession. Carpenter now says, “All legal matters are finished,” and both ministries will continue in Greenville—with Relentless staying put and Redemption opening a new location.
Carpenter, who moved to California in 2018 to start a new church in San Jose, sued Gray in January, trying to get him evicted from the former Redemption property. Carpenter claimed Gray wasn’t meeting the agreed-upon financial obligations. Gray, meanwhile, denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers insisted the conflict wasn’t “as much about leases and occupancy of church buildings, as much as it is a fight over church members.”
Redemption Announces New Greenville Location
At a recent Vision Night event, Carpenter and his wife, Hope, announced the planned January 2021 launch of a Redemption East church campus in Greenville. “All parties were mutually satisfied,” Carpenter says of the mediation process. “Our original intent at the beginning was for [Relentless] to have that property.” The pastor expressed regret that the transition process was full of “chaos and drama,” leaving some former Redemption members feeling abandoned.
When asked about a potential future partnership with Relentless, Carpenter said, “Nothing would make me happier than for [the relationship] to come full circle.” The pastor added, “I’ve known Pastor John Gray for 16 years. We have [broken] bread together, we have stayed in each other’s houses, we preached together in the same circles and the same conferences. I want all of those fences to be mended.”
Carpenter also expressed interest in purchasing the local convention center someday.
Pastor John Gray of Relentless Takes a Sabbatical
Devon Puriefoy, Gray’s attorney, confirmed that Relentless will remain in its current 17-acre Greenville location, calling the outcome “a prevailing mediation” for Gray’s church. The dispute was “unfortunate,” Puriefoy said, but “everybody is glad that it was resolved and that both Relentless and Redemption can now focus on doing what their true mission is, which is serving the spiritual livelihoods of the Greenville community.”
A Relentless spokesperson says the church “wishes Redemption nothing but the best.” Relentless, she adds, “will continue to serve for many years to come” in Greenville.
Gray, meanwhile, recently shared on social media that he’s undergoing “intense counseling” and had taken a break from Relentless to put his life “in order.” The pastor previously faced criticism for a lavish lifestyle and admitted to “emotional unfaithfulness” to his wife, Aventer.
In the post, Gray writes, “Church isn’t first. My wife is.” Calling Aventer a “life giver” and a “kingdom builder,” Gray expresses remorse for causing her “immeasurable” pain and “public embarrassment.” He add that he’s striving to become “the man God intended” and “the pastor Relentless can stand behind.”
Elders at Relentless are overseeing the restoration process, Gray says, with the goal being a state of “wholeness.” The pastor adds, “I don’t need judgment; I need prayers.”