JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the latest chapter of an ongoing legal battle between Celebration Church and its former pastors, the former pastors have re-filed their defamation lawsuit against the church and are demanding a jury trial.
Earlier this month, a judge dismissed the first version of Stovall and Kerri Weems’ lawsuit and gave them 20 days to rework it.
In the updated lawsuit obtained by the News4JAX I-TEAM, the Weemses got specific.
The lawsuit says the summary section “falsely states that Stovall Weems engaged in a series of improper and unauthorized financial transactions through which he personally benefitted.”
He said this exposed him to hatred, contempt and disgrace, and it is not true.
As for Kerri Weems, the suit says “the intimate details of Weems’ private life were unlawfully obtained.”
The suit names a former staffer and accused her of sharing private information from the Weemses’ home.
Celebration Church suspended Stovall Weems and he later resigned.
Its internal investigation revealed allegations of financial misconduct and emotional and spiritual abuse of staff.
Stovall Weems said it was an orchestrated coup and denies the allegations against him.
Stovall and Kerri Weems have been locked in a legal battle with the church they founded in 1998 since earlier this year.
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Stovall Weems resigned from his positions at Celebration Church in April 2022 and has since launched Stovall Weems Ministries. He and Kerri Weems have hosted gatherings at a facility in Mandarin and also online gatherings.
There is a separate eviction case ongoing between Celebration Church and the Weemses. Celebration served the couple with an eviction notice to get them out of the home where they reside on Black Hammock Island. The church bought the home from Stovall Weems and said because he no longer works at the church, he should not be living there. The Weemses’ defamation suit said that property was a retirement home for Stovall Weems and was never intended to be parsonage.
Celebration Church has been under the leadership of Pastor Tim Timberlake since September 2021. Timberlake was brought in to succeed Stovall Weems, so he could transition into a “global pastor” role and focus on other initiatives.