Religion

Pastor leaving Upstate megachurch could have impact on Columbia

Ron Carpenter Jr., right, and his wife Hope
Ron Carpenter Jr., right, and his wife Hope

The pastor of an Upstate South Carolina megachurch is stepping down, and the impact could be felt in the Midlands.

Ron Carpenter, the pastor of Redemption Church in Greenville, announced to his congregation Sunday that he is stepping down, according to multiple reports.

Carpenter said he and his wife Hope, will move Redemption, as well as their various other ministries, to the west coast in 2018, foxcarolina.com.

One of Redemption’s satellite campuses is Redemption Columbia, located at 5630 Platt Springs Road in Lexington, near White Knoll High School. There’s no official word if Carpenter’s move will impact Redemption Columbia.

Satellite Redemption campuses in Florence and Asheville will close in the near future and a satellite campus in Charlotte will continue, but will be separate from the Redemption group, greenvilleonline.com reported.

Carpenter said he will be taking over Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, Calif., where he will replace the retiring pastor Dick Bernal. In Greenville, Carpenter will be replaced by John Gray, a pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas.

The Redemption name will be replaced when Gray begins his transition as Greenville’s new pastor in February, greenvilleonline.com reported.

There is no word if Redemption Columbia will change its name, or even more. Tony and LaShea Colson currently serve as campus pastors, according to myredemption.cc/locations/columbia.

Redemption Columbia is in a unique position because it was the product of a merger between two congregations. Life Springs Worship Center of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) and Redemption merged.

“Realizing the great potential of this IPHC church and the high number of Redemption internet viewers in the area, God did what most would call impossible. … He united the two and created another extension of Redemption right in the heart of South Carolina,” the website said.



Carpenter said he expects to leave Redemption with more than $1 million from a recent expansion campaign for Gray greenvilleonline.com reported. He founded Redemption “in 1991 with three members and a passion for breaking down the walls of racism, crossing cultural lines, and changing poverty mindsets in their community as well as around the world,” Redemption’s website said.

The church made headlines in September after Hope Carpenter, co-founder and pastor at Redemption, faced backlash over comments she posted on Facebook speaking out against NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem, greenvilleonline.com reported. Ron Carpenter issued an apology on Facebook and from the pulpit regarding the comments made by his wife.

In addition to Greenville and Columbia, Redmption has churches in Asheville, Charlotte, Florence, Raleigh and Puerto Rico.

This is the second Upstate megachurch that is undergoing a significant change of leadership that can impact the Midlands. NewSpring Church ousted its pastor, Perry Noble in 2016 because of alcohol and family issues.

Noble recently returned to the pulpit with Second Chance Church, which he broadcasts to worshipers on Facebook.

NewSpring is the state’s largest church, with more than 30,000 members in 17 cities in South Carolina, including three in the Midlands.

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