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Late Pastor’s Widow, Charisse Gibert Arrested: During Worship Service at World Outreach Christian Center As Elders Fight her For Control of Church

Late Pastor’s Widow, Charisse Gibert Arrested: During Worship Service at World Outreach Christian Center As Elders Fight her For Control of Church

Bishop I.V. Hilliard, senior pastor of New Light Christian Center Church in Houston, Texas, and presiding prelate of the Association of Independent Ministries, has condemned the “appalling” arrest of Charisse Gibert, widow of the late Pastor Benjamin Gibert at the 5,500-member Detroit World Outreach Christian Center Church on Sunday.

Charisse Gibert’s arrest at the church in Redford Charter Township, Michigan, stemmed from an ongoing dispute with the congregation’s board of elders over who should succeed her husband as the church’s lead pastor. Her husband died of an unspecified illness in late February.

“The current dispute involving the authentication of DWO’s Bylaws and the interpretation of the relevant provisions as to who is the rightful successor, is unfortunate and will probably be settled in the courts. It is equally unfortunate to see the mistreatment, hostility, and ruthlessness of some of the previous board members toward Pastor Charisse and her family from the time of Bishop Ben’s passing until now,” Hilliard said in a recent statement in which he calls the late pastor a spiritual son.

He also noted that Scripture allows for pastors to appoint their successor.

“Of course we know as believers the Scripture supports the right of the predecessor to appoint their successor. It was that way with Moses and Joshua, with Paul and Timothy and with David and Solomon. It appears that Bishop Ben’s successor, Pastor Charisse, was appointed in accordance with the DWO bylaws as his successor. This matter is now before the civil courts and we trust it will be decided soon,” he said.

Hilliard said as the dispute seeks a resolution in court, he plans to stand with Charisse along with members of the DWO congregation who support her. He noted that Charisse faithfully carried out the duties of leading the church during her husband’s illness and she did so with “integrity.”

“Bishop Ben was a very dear spiritual son of mine whose wife, Pastor Charisse, served along with him helping him to fulfill his pastoral responsibilities during the very challenging health situations he endured. Pastor Charisse prayed for members, preached and taught until he could return to the pulpit after several extensive hospital stays. It does appear that God has placed this capable, anointed woman of faith in the hearts of many of the DWO family who want her as pastor, who are faithfully supporting her, and I applaud all of them,” Hilliard said.

“Though my heart is deeply saddened to see the church go through this season of turmoil, I have no choice in this matter but to take a stand for what I believe is right. As a bishop in the Lord’s Church and an apostolic voice in this generation, it is my constant prayer that this matter be resolved swiftly and peacefully in the name of Jesus. As the spiritual father to Pastor Charisse, I have been one of her spiritual advisors who has prayed and offered spiritual wisdom in this matter from the beginning,” he explained.

“In light of the recent hostile affairs at DWO, I’m asking all the pastors of our AIM fellowship of which I am presiding prelate, those who are friends of my ministry, those who respect my integrity and long standing commitment to righteousness, to prayerfully support Pastor Charisse during this season. It is my plan to come to the city of Detroit real soon to attend the newly established DWO Saturday worship service to openly show my support,” he added.

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