Bishop Kenneth Monroe, senior bishop of the AME Zion Church, said the denomination remains concerned about returning the property to affected churches.
“The news of the indictment and arrest of Dr. Staccato Powell and Dr. Sheila Quintana was very troubling to the members of the Board of Bishops,” he said in a statement on behalf of the board. “It has never been the desire of the Board of Bishops to pursue prosecution of Dr. Powell. Our intent was always to restore the property to the congregation(s) that had been foreclosed on.”
He added that they are praying for Powell, Quintana and their families as well as the congregations.
Powell could not immediately be reached for comment. Quintana declined to comment.
In an interview with Religion News Service after the church trial, the former bishop said he had “ushered in a new paradigm of growth and expansion” but AME Zion bishops said he violated their denomination’s rule book by altering the church deeds and using his corporation to handle district business.
Last year Monroe told RNS that more than half a dozen churches were in bankruptcy court concerning what denominational leaders consider an illegal transfer of deeds through an entity created by Powell that enabled the deeds to be used as collateral for loans. Bankruptcy proceedings are continuing.
Thompson said he has encouraged the churches in California to move forward with their ministries and not dwell on the court proceedings and he feels more strongly about that advice in the wake of the indictment.
“Are they affected?” he said. “Yes, affected. But I think everybody’s made up their minds (to) let the courts handle it. And we’ll go forward, but we’re going to continue to pray for them and ask God to touch them and their family.”
Asked last summer if, given the allegations leveled against him, he expected to be criminally charged, Powell responded to RNS: “I expect to be totally exonerated.”
This story has been updated and originally appeared here.