Aventer Gray praises woman who bashed NFL players for taking a knee and engaged in numerous affairs
Article By Natasha Sage // EEW Magazine News
Pastor Hope Carpenter came under fire in 2017 for bashing NFL players for kneeling as a means of protesting the killing of unarmed black men. She also made headlines in 2014 for carrying on multiple extramarital affairs over the course of a decade, that nearly ruined her marriage and collapsed her ministry.
Still, Aventer Gray, the longsuffering wife of unfaithful Relentless Church pastor, John Gray, introduced Carpenter Sunday as “one of the greatest women of God that has ever graced the earth.”
Such an introduction raised some eyebrows. But others were not surprised by the glowing remarks in light of the fact that Hope and Ron Carpenter, former pastors of the ministry the Grays now pastor, chose John and Aventer Gray to take over the mega church.
Before the Greenville, South Carolina-based ministry became known as Relentless Church in 2018, it was called Redemption World Outreach.
“I love you Pastor John and Pastor Aventer. I believe in you, I’m praying for you, I’m rooting for you,” said Carpenter, who told African-Americans a couple of years ago that, if they do not like the way things are in America, “move”—but under no circumstances should they consider “not honoring our national anthem.”
Carpenter’s hurtful and racially insensitive rhetoric fractured the then 60 percent African-American Redemption World Outreach congregation. The fallout was so bad that, just over two months after the scandal, the announcement came that the Carpenters would be resigning and the Grays would be taking over. No wonder some say Carpenter’s legacy is anything but great and scoff at Mrs. Gray’s praise of her.
Sadly, John and Aventer Gray’s introduction into pastoral ministry in Greenville has been disastrous with one controversy after another dominating headlines. Nevertheless, despite the chaos and criticism around the stars of OWN’s The Book of John Gray, Carpenter is doubling down in defense of the pair.
Unfortunately, Carpenter’s commentary, which targeted media outlets reporting negatively about the Grays’ misbehaviors and indiscretions, has created another dustup.
“I cut people,” she said during the 8:30 a.m. service, shocking listeners. “I’ve got a knife right in that pocket book.”
In a statement to the Post, a spokeswoman for Relentless Church said the Grays did not know what Carpenter would say, and even though they “believe Pastor Hope was joking, we completely understand how her comments could be received in today’s climate. There is no place in our society for words that could fan the flames of discord.”
The contentious commentary from Carpenter continued on Sunday morning with her singling out local news. “Greenville News, come on. We done went through this. Alright. I’m still here and guess who else still gon’ be here?”
She then wagged her finger in the direction of the Grays and added, “See, if I did not know what God had brought me through back here and what God brought me through 10 years ago and what God brought me through five years ago, I would not have a deep intertwined root system that would help me to be able to hold on.”
To her credit, after Carpenter faced major backlash in 2017 for using her white privilege to condemn protests of the marginalized and oppressed, she realized the error of her ways, and tearfully begged forgiveness. But some members were so turned off, they left and never returned.
"I was careless and said things that hurt people and I was ignorant of the whole scope of it all. The very people I love, the very people I fight for I hurt and I beg you to forgive me," she said.
Since the Carpenters’ exit and the Grays’ entrance, the drama has only escalated. The new pastor’s admission of marital infidelity; the church spending $1.8 million on the Grays’ home; and Pastor Gray’s major splurge on a $200 thousand Lambroghini Urus for his wife, has only intensified the scrutiny.
Though the Grays could surely use a good defender, it is questionable whether Carpenter is the right one for the job. Furthermore, when heaping praise upon anyone, it is a good policy to inspect their fruit before calling them the “greatest.”