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Hope Carpenter, a co-founder and former pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center in San Jose, Calif., was speaking to the congregation at Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C. in support of its controversial pastors, John and Aventer Gray, when she made a threatening comment to local press.
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“I love you Pastor John and Pastor Aventer. I believe in you,” Carpenter told them during the sermon. “I’m praying for you. I’m rooting for you.”
Carpenter then faced the cameras, which were broadcasting the service online, and said, “I cut people. I got a knife right there in that pocketbook, so Greenville News, come on. We done went through that already. I’m still here, and guess who else is still gonna be here?”
Greenville News had covered the less-than-flattering stories involving Pastor John Gray, including when his confession on a daytime talk show that he was involved in an emotional affair. The Relentless church also purchased an $1.8 million home for him and his wife, whom he also gifted a $200K Lamborghini.
The newspaper covered Carpenter’s sermon, noting that its coverage of the church included more positive stories.
“The Greenville News has also published stories about John Gray and Relentless Church repeatedly encouraging those in need to take money from the church offering plates. Other stories by the News have detailed Gray and Relentless pledging support of Pickens County’s first homeless shelter and the church’s hopes to take racial healing nationwide.”
Greenville News executive editor Katrice Hardy said in a statement, “The Greenville News strives to cover every organization in our community in a fair and unbiased way.”
“While we believe Pastor Hope was joking, we completely understand how her comments could be received in today’s climate,” the Grays’ spokeswoman, Holly Baird, told the outlet in a written statement. “Neither our pastors or anyone in our leadership would agree with any type of communication that would encourage or incite violence against another individual or entity.”
Hope Carpenter did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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