Bynum loves husband but needs to move on

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Hat Tip: D. Aileen Dodd, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Evangelist Juanita Bynum’s lawyer said Monday the pastor is seeking to divorce her husband on the basis of cruel treatment and irreconcilable differences.

The divorce filing states that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken,” said Bynum’s attorney Karla Walker of Valdosta, Ga.

by her husband Thomas W. Weeks III on Aug. 21 in a hotel parking lot near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“She loved her husband,” Walker said. “But she does feel it is necessary to stop the domestic violence and go on with the divorce.”

The divorce paperwork was sent to the Ware County Courthouse early last week, but an error delayed the filing. The legal documents were officially filed on Monday.

Bynum, 48, spent the weekend in California where she attended a fund-raiser for presidential candidate Barack Obama. The party was held at Oprah Winfrey’s estate.

Bynum has said she is moving forward with plans to start a domestic violence ministry. Last week, she resurfaced in the spotlight, saying she had recovered from the alleged attack and would like to serve as an advocate against domestic violence.

Weeks, 40, was charged with felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection with the attack. He could face up to 27 years in jail if convicted.

Bishop Weeks seeks reconcilliation with Juanita Bynum

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Hat Tip: D. Aileen Dodd, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

A lawyer for Thomas W. Weeks III said Friday that the bishop is looking to reconcile with his wife or at least end their marriage amicably if she has filed for divorce.

In a statement released by attorney Louis Tesser of Kessler, Schwarz and Solomiany, Weeks says he still hasn’t received notice that a divorce filing has been made by his wife national evangelist Juanita Bynum.

“The Bishop Thomas W. Weeks has hoped and still hopes that the marriage can be reconciled,” Tesser said. “If that is possible he is committed to working things out amicably and will only litigate as a very last resort.”

Word of the pending divorce spread after Bynum spoke of it on a news broadcast. A relative also confirmed the divorce filing Thursday.

Tesser said if Bynum has a divorce attorney he is ready to meet with the lawyer and discuss the matter privately.

Amy Malone, Bynum’s publicist, said she had no comment on the issue.

Bynum has resurfaced in the public spotlight calling herself “the new face of domestic violence,” referring to the alleged beating by her husband. The minister told police Weeks beat, choked and stomped her in a hotel parking lot on Aug. 21.

Weeks, 40, was charged with felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection to the incident. His appearance in Fulton County Superior Court originally set for today has been postponed indefinitely.

The case has been reassigned to a different judge. Weeks could face up to 27 years in jail if convicted.

Is this Negro for real? Doesn’t he know that he’s going to jail?

Juanita Bynum files for divorce

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Teach Me How to Love You

Hat Tip: by D. Aileen Dodd, S.A. Reid, Atlanta Journal Constitution

National evangelist Juanita Bynum apparently has filed for divorce, more than two weeks after the alleged attack by her husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks III.

A relative on Thursday said that Bynum has filed for divorce but court records were not available early Thursday. Bynum’s publicist, Amy Malone, would not comment.

the alleged beating by Weeks, the pastor and co-founder of Global Destiny Ministries in metro Atlanta.

Bynum called a press conference on Tuesday, a few hours before she hosted an international Christian talk show on Trinity Broadcasting Network. She appeared poised and soft-spoken before news cameras. She wore her wedding ring on her right hand. The pastor has been separated from her husband for more than three months.

Calling herself “the new face of domestic violence,” Bynum is expected to be part of an A-list crowd Saturday at a fund-raiser for Barack Obama’s presidential bid.

The party is being hosted by media magnate Oprah Winfrey at her 42-acre estate in California.

Bynum is part of a guest list that includes celebrities, politicians and other news makers.

“She received an invitation to attend the event at Oprah’s home,” said Malone. Bynum is hoping to talk directly with Obama or members of his presidential campaign team about national domestic violence concerns.

Weeks’ lawyer, Louis Tesser, has said that Weeks “hopes he doesn’t wind up getting a divorce.” On Wednesday, Weeks broke his silence for the first time since the alleged Aug. 21 domestic violence incident by issuing a written statement through his lawyers.

In it, Weeks cautioned against a rush to judgment and said he would share his version of what happened that night at the appropriate time.

Bynum was allegedly beaten, choked, and stomped to the ground in an attack. Weeks was charged with felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection to the incident.

Weeks’ appearance in Fulton County Superior Court originally set for Friday has been postponed indefinitely. The case has been reassigned to a different judge. He could face up to 27 years in jail if convicted.

Juanita Bynum speaks out

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Video courtesy of Hello Negro

Hat Tip: by D. Aileen Dodd, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

She aired her dirty laundry on a national stage, first as a victim of divorce and dead-end affairs and now as a victim of domestic violence.

National Pentecostal evangelist Juanita Bynum, 48, went public with her pain Tuesday, sharing yet another chapter in her tumultuous life story.

The tough-talking pastor, who has survived a divorce, a nervous breakdown and life on welfare, broke her silence two weeks after her second husband, Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III, allegedly beat, stomped and choked her in a hotel parking lot.

In a room with flashing cameras, Bynum said she has forgiven Weeks for the alleged attack and that her ministry will take a new twist because of the pain she has suffered.

“Today, domestic violence has a face and a name and it is Juanita Bynum,” said the pastor.

Weeks, 40, is facing charges of felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two misdemeanor counts of simple battery in connection with the Aug. 21 incident. The charges against him carry a maximum possible sentence of 27 years.

The bishop, who moved to metro Atlanta in 2006 to launch Global Destiny Church with Bynum, told his congregation that the devil made him attack his wife. Weeks was released on $40,000 bail from Fulton County Jail on the day he turned himself in to police. He is due in Fulton Superior Court on Friday.

Bynum said she was speaking about the incident Tuesday because she didn’t want her fans or colleagues to view her as a “damsel in distress.”

She said she intends to keep all her obligations to her ministry, including serving as host of an international talk show airing on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

A few hours after her 10-minute news conference Tuesday, Bynum was expected to appear as a special guest on TBN’s “Praise The Lord” program, a Christian talk show featuring ministers, gospel artists and other newsmakers. Fans learned of her appearance on Bynum’s Web site and began showing up at TBN studios in Decatur about noon to get a seat.

Bynum initially had planned her news conference at TBN but changed the location to the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead. She stood poised with her hands clasped in front of her, wearing baggy jeans and a pink Daytona Beach sweatshirt. A diamond wedding band sparkled —- from her right hand.

Bynum would not speak about the future of her marriage to Weeks. The couple wed in an elaborate ceremony in 2002. They had been separated for several months before the alleged attack.

“This is such a difficult moment for me,” Bynum said. “First, I want to go on record and say I forgive my husband and I wish him all of the best.”

The pastor said while some of her supporters have kept quiet about the incident, she does not intend to move on with her ministry as if the attack never happened.

“Relationships are what they are, [they] have their difficult moments,” she said. “… This has changed my life forever.”

Born in Chicago, Bynum was reared in the charismatic Church of God in Christ, a denomination that has a history of female evangelists. She married in her early 20s but within a few years divorced. After years of moving from being a beautician to a Pan Am flight attendant to joblessness and food stamps, she came into the Pentecostal ministry.

She gained popularity nationwide more than a decade ago for her messages of female empowerment and for her popular “No More Sheets” sermon on breaking free of sexual promiscuity.

Bynum said that after the alleged attack she was holed up with family feeling “weak and helpless.”

But Tuesday she said she won’t keep quiet on the issue of domestic violence.

“This isn’t a religious issue, it’s a social issue,” she said.

Bynum would not say whether she would participate in the prosecution of her husband or discuss her feelings about him. She said she is focusing on her new ministry. “Instead of a victim, I want to become an advocate,” she said.

Church leaders seek to defrock Bishop Weeks

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Hat Tip: Associated Press, BlackAmericaWeb.com

ATLANTA – (AP) A national group of black and Hispanic churches is calling for the minister husband of evangelist and gospel singer Juanita Bynum to be suspended for three years from the ministry because of allegations he beat his wife.

Thomas W. Weeks III, known to his followers as Bishop Weeks, was charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats following a confrontation last month that police say left Bynum badly bruised. Weeks and Bynum are estranged.

The Washington-based National Black Church Initiative said Weeks’ Global Destiny Ministries is not part of its church network, but that it considers the charges against him harmful to the entire Christian church.

Global Destiny Ministries was founded by Bynum and Weeks.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NBCI is asking its 16,000 member churches and their congregants to refuse to support Weeks’ ministry or recognize him as ordained clergy.

“We’re not just going to tolerate this kind of behavior,” the Rev. Vincent Evans told newspaper. “He has hurt the cause of Christ.”

The coalition, which works to address racial health disparities and problems in black families, sees Weeks’ alleged actions as “morally wrong and reprehensible.” Domestic violence, the group said, is a root cause of the failure of black families and marriages.

The coalition said it wants him to apologize to his wife, his church and the Christian family, and to seek counseling.

“We cannot begin healing the black family without taking this action,” Evans told the Journal-Constitution.

Police say that during an Aug. 21 argument outside a hotel, Weeks, 40, choked Bynum, pushed her to the ground and started to kick and stomp on her. A hotel employee intervened and pulled Weeks off her, police said.

Bynum, 48, is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity. Among her books are “No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex” and “Matters of the Heart.”

Her album “A Piece of My Passion” had been listed in the top 10 gospel albums by Billboard magazine for several months. She also preaches through televised sermons.

The couple married in 2002. Together, they wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.”

Bishop Weeks Indicted by Fulton County Grand Jury

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Hat Tip: By D. Aileen Dodd, John Hollis, Atlanta Journal Constitution 

Apparently it’s going to take more than blaming the devil to get Bishop Thomas Weeks off the hook with the authorities.

A Fulton County grand jury indicted the husband of national evangelist Juanita Bynum for what Bynum said was an attack on her in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel.

Weeks faces one count of aggravated assault, one count of terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection with the Aug. 22 incident at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel.

Weeks fled the scene before police arrived, but later told members of his congregation the devil had been responsible for his actions.

The charges against him carry a maximum possible sentence of 27 years.

Weeks’ church was also facing possible eviction before the alleged attack.

According to police and court records, Weeks, 41, was struggling to pay the bills since he and Bynum separated three months ago.

Weeks was evicted from his home in Duluth in late June. And he was close to losing the church he built with his wife.

An attorney representing the landlord for Global Destiny Church in Duluth said Friday that Weeks had received several notices that he was in violation of his lease agreement for the church for nonpayment of funds. GrimesSquare Executive Inc. proceeded with an eviction lawsuit when the matter was not resolved within its timeline.

“I wrote the letter to comply with the law,” said Stephanie Friese, attorney for GrimeSquare Executive. “I am sure they did others.”

According to court records, Friese backed up the threat of eviction on Aug. 23. She filed a lawsuit against Weeks in Gwinnett County Civil Court that started eviction proceedings “for the non-payment of rent,” Friese said.

Two days later, Weeks was facing litigation again — for allegedly beating his wife after they met at the Concourse Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta to discuss what family has described as “personal business.”

Friese, the attorney for the landlord, called the incident “coincidental.”

Weeks turned himself in to police last Friday at the Fulton County Courthouse and was released on a $40,000 bond. He was charged with two felonies — aggravated assault for allegedly beating, choking and stomping Bynum and making terrorist threats for threatening to kill her, police said.

Bynum’s publicist did not have a comment early Friday.

Weeks could not be reached for comment. However, his attorney, Ed Garland, said he is not aware of any money problems Weeks may be having.

“I have not concerned myself with his financial status,” Garland said.

Garland said Weeks and Bynum discussed many things the night of the alleged incident. He said he did not know about a possible eviction from the church.

“They had been meeting a couple of hours discussing everything about their relationship,” he said. “There was a huge number of things being talked about.”

An out-of-court deal was reached Friday to stop the eviction proceedings against Global Destiny, Friese said.

“This morning the parties reached an agreement,” he said. “The settlement document has already been signed.”

Friese would not discuss whether GrimeSquare Executive received full payment for the church’s rent and other fees under the lease or whether Weeks was put on a payment plan. The bishop continued to have church services there. The church is located at 4830 Rivergreen Parkway in Duluth.

“If he complies with the terms of the settlement, he will be able to remain in possession,” she said.