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Baltimore Megachurch Empowerment Temple Removes Pastor GJ Barnes III for Missing Financial Audit Deadline

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The board of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, which boasts more than 4,000 members, has ousted Pastor GJ Barnes III, alleging he failed to submit financial documents required by the church’s mortgage lender.

An Empowerment spokesman said Barnes, who took the helm of the Northwest Baltimore megachurch in 2019, failed this year to complete an annual financial audit on time, an issue that could place Empowerment in danger of foreclosure. The audit was submitted late last year, as well, the spokesman said, leading to fines for the church.

This year’s audit has still not been completed, the spokesman added.

Barnes and his wife, Junetta, have faced personal financial difficulties in recent years, according to online state court records. The records show the federal government recorded a lien against the couple of more than $1 million in a 2017 case that is listed as closed. In 2020, the Maryland comptroller’s office filed a $273,000 lien against the couple in a case it also listed as closed.

Reached on Sunday by email, Barnes declined to comment for this article, and he did not respond Monday to further emails. However, he said on his Facebook page that he will host an in-person meeting Wednesday to answer questions. It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. at Next Act Cinema in Pikesville.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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