Home Christian News Celebration Church Sues To Evict Former Pastors Following Defamation Suit

Celebration Church Sues To Evict Former Pastors Following Defamation Suit

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Stovall and Kerri Weems answer questions from their Instagram followers. Screenshot from Instagram / @stovallweems

Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, has filed an eviction suit against its former pastors, Stovall and Kerri Weems. The eviction suit comes days after the Weemses filed a defamation lawsuit against the church they founded.

“The Weemses remain in possession of the Shellcracker Property despite Stovall Weems’ resignation of employment, the Weemses’ refusal to pay rent, and the church’s demands that the Weemses vacate the premises,” says the eviction suit filed by Celebration Church on June 1. “There is no oral or written agreement for the Weemses to remain in possession of the Shellcracker Property. The Weemses have no right, title, or interest in or to the Shellcracker Property.”

Celebration Church vs. Stovall and Kerri Weems

In January 2022 Celebration Church suspended Stovall and Kerri Weems, who helped found the church in 1998, and commissioned an investigation into their leadership. On Feb. 23, the Weemses filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief against Celebration, making requests that included the restoration of their base salary, benefits and back pay and the restoration of the status quo to what it was prior to the suspension. 

Celebration Church responded with a motion to dismiss the injunction, alleging the Weemses were conducting “a campaign of deception, manipulation, distraction, and abuse of power” against the church. On April 15, Stovall Weems resigned from his roles at the church and accused Celebration of abandoning “the clear biblical principles and scriptural qualifications for spiritual covering, spiritual authority, and ecclesiastical governance and oversight.”

On April 24, Celebration released the findings of the investigation on Stovall and Kerri Weems, a 22-page report which found the Weemses guilty of fraud, narcissism and “rampant spiritual and emotional abuse.” The couple responded on May 28 by filing a defamation lawsuit claiming that the church’s intention in conducting the report was to “destroy Plaintiffs’ livelihood and reputation, discredit them, publicly humiliate them, punish them, and try to prevent them from continuing their ministry anywhere else.” The Weemses have been continuing ministry since leaving the Celebration Church, such as by posting spiritual reflections and conducting Q&A sessions on Instagram.