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Jul 30th

Clergy react following domestic assault on Juanita Bynum-Weeks

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Bishop T. D. Jakes, preparing for yet another women's conference -- "For Ladies Only" -- next month, says that he is hoping recent separation and divorce announcements of Christian power couples, including the hotel parking lot beating of Prophetess Juanita Bynum-Weeks by her minister husband, won't deter marriages. Bishop T.D. Jakes

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Bishop T. D. Jakes, preparing for yet another women's conference -- "For Ladies Only" -- next month, says that he is hoping recent separation and divorce announcements of Christian power couples, including the hotel parking lot beating of Prophetess Juanita Bynum-Weeks by her minister husband, won't deter marriages.

"I don't want to comment on their specific cases because I am counseling them and that would not be professional. But to make a general statement about women who are going through divorce; divorce does not have to be the end of your life," says Jakes in an interview with the NNPA News Service. "It is a tragedy. The Bible says that God hates divorce and I believe that it is God's will that we walk together and keep our vows. But your life doesn't have to end because your marriage did. And to those women who are dealing with domestic violence, I think the first thing to do is to put you and your children in a safe environment and then begin to work out a resolution."

As for those who may be intimidated after hearing about or witnessing violence between lovers, there is no need to lose heart, he says.

"When they see a neighbor or a cousin or a friend or even a leader going through those problems, then they start giving up on marriage," says Jakes, who has been married to his wife Serita for twenty-five years. "They fail to look at those thousands and thousands of couples who have been married for years and years and have enjoyed their marriages and have enjoyed their lives together. Things may not have been perfect, but they still have enjoyed a prolonged loving relationship with another person. Don't give up on Love. Love works."

Bynum, a televangelist with a national following, pressed charges against her estranged husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks,
after she was badly bruised in a confrontation with him during an Aug. 22 meeting to reconcile at an Atlanta hotel, police said. Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III, founder of Global Destiny churches, was charged with aggravated assault and terrorist threats. He was set to appear in court Sept. 6.

News of the Bynum-Weeks charges was compounded by the subsequent announcement by Paula White of Paula White Ministries and her husband Randy that they too are planning to divorce. Their separation appears to be amicable. Both women could be considered daughters of the Jakes ministry, having largely gotten their fame after preaching and teaching at numerous Jakes conferences.

Jakes wife, First Lady Serita Jakes, also on the telephone interview, says that high-profiled people in ministry should not be judged more harshly just because their frailties are more public.

"These people are having a human experience with a divine mantel on their lives. And so I pray, and our prayers go toward Lady Bynum and Lady Paula as well that God would help heal the brokenness that's in them," says Serita Jakes, who has authored several books, including "Beside Every Man: Loving Myself While Standing by Him."

Both Bishop Jakes and First Lady Serita will be teaching at the upcoming "FLO" conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas, Oct. 18-20. With focus on creating life strategies, recovering from setbacks, improving relationships and spiritual revival, she stresses hope that participants will look for the divinity in the messages rather than in the messengers. "We preach Jesus; not ourselves," Serita Jakes says.
Not all clergy agree.

The Washington-based National Black Church Initiative, which represents 16,000 churches across the U. S., has called for Bynum to step down as head of the Global Destiny Ministries founded by him and his wife. NBCI president, Rev. Anthony Evans, has issued a
 

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