The controversy involving Celebration Church's founders is becoming murkier with a recent report stating Pastor Stoval Weems and his wife, Kerri, were abusive and mentally unwell.
The 22-paged report was released by the Nelson Mullins law firm, which the Celebration Church board of trustees commissioned to conduct an investigation on the Weemses. As per The Christian Post, the report highlighted that the Weemses exploited not only the church's funds but also its staff.
"The single word used most frequently to describe Stovall Weems was 'narcissist.' Nearly every witness we interviewed used that specific word," the Nelson Mullins law firm said.
There were at least 20 interviewees comprised of current and former senior leaders, previous trustees, consultants, advisors, and staff. Some of the interviewees revealed being traumatized while working for the Weemses.
The report emphasized that the Weemses' leadership was unbiblical and inconsistent even before 2019. It concluded that the couple's leadership was one "marked by rampant spiritual and emotional abuse, including manipulation, a profound sense of self-importance and selfishness, superiority and entitlement, overbearing and unreasonable demands on employees' time, a lack of accountability or humility, and demands of absolute loyalty."
Evidences of such leadership were documented from the experiences of the Weemses' employees. One recounted being instructed by the pastor one night to buy one bottle of bourbon and deliver it to his house because he "did not want to be seen purchasing liquor." Another employee narrated being told to buy a car and deliver it to the Weemses' house only to be told to "find his own ride home" after the new car was purchased.
Household staff also testified being regarded as "inferior" by the Weemses, who they said lived in luxury. The couple often took private charter flights to exotic locations, occupied several homes, and employed a full-house staff along with personal assistants.
"In 2020, Weems drafted a document that instructed the Weemses' assistants on how they were to keep each of the three residences so the Weemses would not be bothered during their transitions between homes. This was so the Weemses could focus on their 'spiritual acuity' at all times," the report continued.
In addition, the report also highlighted several accounts of the Weemses' mental conditions. The pastor announced to his congregation that he had a personal and literal encounter with Jesus who was wearing a white garment and had brown hair.
This encounter eventually led to Keri Weems becoming suicidal since she was overwhelmed by her husband's behavior. The couple was advised to take time off to process what happened but reportedly did not listen to those who counseled them to.
The investigators said that there is evidence that the Weemses exhibited such behavior due to the great stress they were undergoing that impacted their mindset.
In conclusion, the report confirmed the financial abuse raised against the pastor that led to his suspension from the church prior to his resignation last week. The Roys Report said the report stressed that the pastor "unjustly" enriched himself.
"Stovall Weems violated the law by breaching his fiduciary duties to Celebration, committing fraud, unjustly enriching himself at the expense of the Church, and failing to meet the fiduciary duties and standards of care required by his office. He has brought Celebration to the brink of insolvency," the report underscored.
The Nelson Mullins law firm then recommended the board of trustees undertake seven actions against the Weemses. These included accepting the couple's resignation without providing them any further benefits or compensation, removing them from any positions held in the church and its subsidiaries, and requiring them to account for and return all misappropriated funds from the church.