New Era Detroit stages a protest that turned into a brawl, caught on camera.
This is the same church that recently hosted Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. But this protest is about more than politics.
New Era Detroit is calling it church accountability – taking congregations to task for not serving the community as churches should. They say something doesn’t add up when a pastor makes a lot of money, drives a luxury car and the people who live near the church are in poverty.
A scuffle inside the sanctuary after New Era Detroit protests during a worship service. Zeek the leader of group, offered no apologies for the dustup at Great Faith Ministries Saturday — only the reasoning behind it.
“The situation is bigger than just Wayne T. Jackson,” Zeek said. “This is about black churches and black pastors who live a lavish life on behalf of the people and they are not giving back to their community.”
He’s referring to Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, the wealthy pastor that welcomed Donald Trump, drives a Rolls Royce and lives in a mansion.
Zeek was there for the offering Saturday.
“They started the offering at a thousand dollars,” he said. “And then they said if you don’t have $1,000 then do $300. If you don’t have cash, then we got ATM machines.
“I don’t understand that logic. I don’t understand that way of thinking and I don’t understand that, to be what religion is.”
New Era Detroit says the neighborhood surrounding great faith ministries is by and large impoverished.
“This guy has networks, churches, fancy cars, million dollar houses,” Zeek said. “And there’s babies in this community that doesn’t have food at night. Somebody has to be frustrated about this enough to do something that will get people’s attention and that’s what New Era Detroit did.”
“Here’s the thing, pick up the phone, call, I want to talk to you,” said Bishop Keith Farmer, Great Faith Ministries. “The apostle is a very fair man, he would meet with you and talk to you. What’s your issue. But to do it that way, that is so disrespectful.”
Members of Great Faith Ministries say New Era Detroit has their church and their pastor all wrong.
“Our bishop give away homes, cars,” said Pastor Brent of Great Faith Ministries.
They say he’s an astute businessman.
Juanita Kinney says he’s one with a heart of gold
“When he found out I didn’t have anywhere to live, within an hour he was calling me and telling me to go look at an apartment,” said Kinney. “And because of that, and the love of him and his wife, I now have my own place.”
“He should talk to people that he hired, ex-cons people that been in prison,” said another church member. “He has done so much for this community. There are homes he has bought and given to people. But Zeek doesn’t know that.”
Many feel New Era Detroit crossed the line and violated a sacred space. They even drew comparisons to Dylan Roof – the man who walked into a church service and gunned down nine people in Charleston, South Carolina.
“They can’t come in here and think they’re going to take over our service, we have our women and children, mothers up in here terrified,” said Pastor Brent. “And they say they’re out there protecting the community, this is a community up in here.”
FOX 2: “Would you do it all over again?”
“Absolutely,” Zeek said. “We would definitely do it all over again. Would we tweak something? Absolutely. Going back, we would definitely go back again and they better get they act together because we just might be back.”
The leader of New Era Detroit says he is open to having a sit down with Bishop Jackson and the pastors of other churches that his organization has protested.