As the battle for control of Jericho City of Praise plays out in court, the Landover mega-church’s pastor asserted his authority Sunday over the ministry. A week after a shoving match broke out at the end of the Sunday service, the Rev. Joel R. Peebles sought to dismiss the rumblings of conflict over the church’s leadership. In a rousing sermon, Peebles said plainly that he is in charge.
“We will have no confusion. We will have no mess. We will have no drama. We will have no difficulty — and if you are bringing it to the house, you need to find another house,” Peebles said as the hundreds assembled clapped and cheered. “Now I take authority under the covenant of God, in the name Lord Jesus, over this house. . . . If you’ve got a problem with it, find yourself another place.”
Peebles’s remarks came after he and the church’s governing board had filed dueling petitions in court Friday. The board is trying to stop Peebles, 41, from handling the congregation’s money. Each side accused the other of mismanaging the church’s considerable finances.
The pastor is the only surviving son of the church’s late founders. Before his mother, Apostle Betty P. Peebles, died in October, she put Joel in charge of the 15,000-member congregation. In dispute is whether she intended to leave the church’s board of trustees to direct millions of dollars in assets.
Joel Peebles’s nephew, Joshua, who lived with his grandmother, has sided with the board, whose petition accuses Joel Peebles and his supporters of seizing the tithes and offerings at a recent service and refusing to give them to the church’s treasurer.
Last week, the pastor’s bodyguards escorted Joshua Peebles out of the service after he apparently made a move toward the collection baskets.
Stay Tuned to see how this one turns out.