Church: Bishops McDaniel & Pearson Leave Churches

Published by Torrence Glenn on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm.

It seems there’s been another “shift” in the Church community among Pastors again this week.

Last year (about 9 months ago) I broke the news that Pastors Sheryl and Bishop Joby Brady would be leaving their church “The River” in Durham, NC to take over the North Dallas location of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ megachurch “The Potter’s House.” Of course the question then was who would take over the Brady’s former church? We learned that Bishop Eric McDaniel of “The Lord’s Church” in Bronx, NY would be leaving his church there and relocating to Durham, NC to take over The River. Well, in less than a year we’ve learned that this week Pastor and Bishop Brady removed Bishop McDaniel from his position at The River, and based on sources close to the situation and a statement on Bishop McDaniel’s website, it seems that this dismissal was unexpected. Read below:

“I am deeply saddened to announce that I was informed on January 3, 2011, that I would no longer be a part of the of The River Church as the pastor effective immediately. I was asked to join the staff as the pastor of the River Church nearly a year ago by Bishop Joby Brady and Pastor Sheryl Brady after a decision was made by this pastoral duo to move to Dallas so that Pastor Sheryl Brady could become the pastor of the Potter’s House of North Dallas, which is a satellite location of Bishop TD Jakes. Since the departure of the Brady’s I have served faithfully as the pastor of the River Church in NC, leaving everything behind including my church and my home in New York City to fulfill what I thought to be a divine assignment. Although I’m unclear of why I was dismissed, please let me add that my dismissal had nothing to do with any indiscretion nor infidelity or any sinful act that would have damaged the integrity of The River Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and most importantly my character. I would like to express my love for the great members of The River Church and those affected by this departure. Though my time may have ended at the River Church my ministry must still continue. I desire all to pray for me and my family as we navigate through this untimely transition.”

Bishop Eric McDaniel

Doesn’t sound so good. There has been much speculation as to why Bishop McDaniel was let go.  Some say there was disagreement among the Brady’s and McDaniel’s vision for the direction of The River; that the Brady’s continued a “hands on” approach to the leadership of their former church instead of fully turning it over. Others have said it was strictly a business decision; that the church had a financial stipulation that wasn’t being met. We’ll probably never know the exact reasons (or perhaps we will, anybody want to do an interview?) but this situation is rather unfortunate and I’ll tell you why. *Note, my PERSONALI OPINION is about to come.* Bishop McDaniel had a healthy and thriving congregation in New York that loved him and in my opinion weren’t ready for his departure from them just yet. When he left, many members of the church said they were hurt and ill prepared for the “sudden” transition of their beloved Pastor. I know firsthand that members left and quite a few that remain are still disgruntled. So much so that when news of Bishop McDaniel’s leaving The River hit, some shunned the idea of him coming back to The Lord’s Church. I believe it was probably one of the hardest decisions Bishop McDaniel ever had to make to leave a church he founded andwas so attached to. Those decisions don’t just come easy and become even more complicated when other leadership is involved. What many may not realize or have forgotten is that Bishop T.D. Jakes is the spiritual leader of both the Brady’s and the McDaniel’s and it’s safe to say that last year’s moves were charged or at least authorized by him. For many of us in Church, we trust and follow our leader’s direction and authority and I’m sure this played a role in his final decision. So because of all of this, I’d say this is all pretty “messed up.” I hope that Bishop McDaniel’s next area of ministry is favorable and that the members of The River get a Pastor that works for them soon.

But that wasn’t just it this week.  We also learned that Bishop Carlton Pearson has decided to step down from his post as Pastor of Christ Universal Temple in Chicago. What’s interesting in this situation are the circumstances surrounding his decision. It’s no secret that Bishop Pearson hasn’t been necessarily “welcome” in the “mainstream” Church world after his change to the gospel of inclusion a few years ago. But Christ Universal Temple preaches a philosophy called “new thought” (focuses on meditation, positive thinking, etc.) that pretty much aligns with much of what Bishop Pearson now believes so it’s intriguing that members of the congregation didn’t feel he was qualified to be their Pastor. The church was founded in 1956 by a woman named Johnnie Coleman and it’s my understanding that she retired in 2006 (likely due to aging and failing health) leaving a religious empire worth $10M (yes, that’s MILLION) but left no plan for what she wanted to happen to the church once she left.

Once selected as Pastor, Bishop Pearson began to expand the church (remember who he used to be, he knows how to do this..) by instituting a primetime broadcast and live web stream among other things. However, members of the congregation felt he didn’t have the theological qualifications to lead their new thought church and decided they would cause him to step down. According to Bishop Pearson: “All the things that any normal church would want to happen did. I was trying to extend the church message beyond the church walls to an inclusive audience. … They want to take the church in a different direction, back to where they were before I got there.” Not to make light or fun but a lot of times we think that these issues and rifts only happen in “our” church community and that other folks would do things differently. Both Christ Universal Church and Bishop Pearson operate in a Christian “sub culture” if you will and are still dealing with the usual “church politics.” Fascinating to see that it’s not “just us.”

Either way, it will be interesting to see what both Bishop McDaniel and Bishop Pearson do next.

Stay tuned.


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