Here is a timeline of some of the major news events surrounding Redemption and Relentless churches, a pair of megachurches that began a partnership in 2017.
The two churches appear to be severing their relationship with one another following an exchange of competing legal letters over a potential termination of the lease for the buildings owned by Redemption and occupied by Relentless.
Timeline for John Gray and Ron and Hope Carpenter
1991 – Ron and Hope Carpenter found Redemption Outreach Center in Greenville
1994 – Redemption takes out a mortgage to buy a first plot of land at its Haywood Road site
1999 – Redemption buys additional land at the site and takes out a $1 million mortgage for the ministry that now broadcasts around the world and had been renamed Redemption World Outreach Center
October 2013 – Ron Carpenter announces to his congregation that his wife has been unfaithful for a decade and is seeking treatment.
August 2016 – Rev. John Gray, as associate pastor at the Rev. Joel Osteen’s Texas church, gets an eight-episode deal on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network for a reality show based on his family. The show, called The Book of John Gray, has aired at least 24 episodes to date.
October 2017 – Ron Carpenter apologizes in a Facebook video on his wife’s behalf after she made comments criticizing professional athletes who knelt during the national anthem. Hope Carpenter later apologizes herself at a church service.
December 2017 – The Carpenters announce they are moving to take over a California church and handing their church over to the Rev. John Gray, who is moving to Greenville but will continue his Wednesday services at Osteen’s Texas church.
April to June 2018 – Gray renames Redemption Church as Relentless Church. Osteen, Carpenter and a parade of other pastors help to formally install Gray as the senior pastor.
August 2018 – Gray visits the White House and sits next to President Donald Trump during an “inner city pastors” meeting. Gray later said it would be unwise for him to meet the president again but said the meeting helped lead to a prison reform bill.
Nov. to Dec. 2018 – The Greenville News reports on several outreaches of Relentless Church including stories about Gray urging the needy to take money from the church offering plates, pledging support of Pickens County’s first homeless shelter and the church’s hopes to take racial healing nationwide.
December 2018 – Gray gives his wife a Lamborghini SUV, sparking a public outcry as well as passionate defense by much of his congregation. In a video afterward, he says the money came from his non-church income streams and was intended as a thank you for his wife for their eighth anniversary.
January 2019 – The Greenville News reports that Gray is living in a $1.8 million home paid for by Relentless Church. The deal was necessary to attract a leader of Gray’s caliber, a church leader said. The home is owned by Relentless. The church, not Redemption or Gray, would keep the property if Gray left, a church leader said.
March 2019 – Gray appears on talk show “The Real” and says he had been in an emotional, not sexual, affair and he apologizes to his wife and congregation.
March 2019 – Gray tells his congregation it needs to give an additional $250,000 to cover the cost of a roof repair. Cracks had begun to appear in the Gray-Carpenter relationship as well, with Gray telling the congregation that Redemption had accumulated debt before the move — debt that Relentless now has to pay.
April 2019 – Hope Carpenter makes a surprise appearance at Relentless, addressing the controversies and adding her own. She says “I cut people” and “I got a knife right there in that pocketbook, so Greenville News, come on.”
June 2019 – The Relentless ONE Conference in Greenville features a festival and speakers.
Nov. 27, 2019 – Redemption sends a legal letter indicating it is terminating the lease for Relentless no later than the end of 2019, according to a copy of the letter provided by Gray’s spokeswoman.
Dec. 5, 2019 – Relentless responds with a legal letter outlining counter claims and saying it had paid the lease in full, along with increases.
SOURCE: Greenville News – Mike Ellis