Charles Jenkins Scandal: Former Member breaks Her Silence

charles-jenkins-scandal-update

Charles Jenkins Scandal Update

Rae Lewis Thornton, author and popular blogger of Diva Living with AIDS made a courageous decision to speak truth to her audience about her alleged knowledge of the Pastor Charles Jenkins scandal and interview the party by which Pastor Jenkins admitted to his congregation to having an affair with.

Rae Lewis Thornton  acknowledged that  she  originally pulled this post because she was unsettled with the spirit that it had taken on.  Noting on her blog

“It made me sad to see the nasty discourse among my people”  as well as the blogger add ins being made that were not confirmed by her nor verified.

However,  after prayer and reflection she made the decision to re-post  her original article  realizing that she must  stand firm on her belief that “Truth is Truth”

Further, Ms. Lewis wants to ensure that her story be told in her voice.  After reading both posts, I realized this was a class A sister and one whose story needs to be read by thousands, I pray that she won’t mind out of my  admiration and respect, I offer this space to expand Ms. Mundi’s message in Ms. Thornton’s Voice.  Thank you Rae for sharing what was obviously very difficult to do. charles-jenkins-scandal-ray-lewis-thornton Repost by: Ray Lewis Thornton

Breaking My Silence on Pastor Charles Jenkins

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a preacher friend of mine and he asked,”Have you seen that picture of Pastor Charles Jenkins naked?” HUH? “What picture,” he then directed me to a blog that had a picture of my former pastor Rev. Charles Jenkins brushing his teeth naked.

The picture had allegedly been taken by a person other than his wife with a claim of extortion. My heart sank for this public display of his naked body but as I watched the story unfold that week it became unsettling for me on so many different levels.

Everyone had an opinion, but mostly there was an attack on the “other woman.” It’s sad how we race to watch Scandal and hope that one day Olivia will get her man, but when it comes to a “real affair” we tar and feather the other woman. I watched the debate on that blog and on social media as people  diced “her” up, but at the same time forgave him and really, no one knew if in fact there was any details as to how the picture actually arrived in the hands of that blogger.

I kept my silence with the exception of close friends. I mean, he was my former pastor and he was naked. It was the hottest conversation that week. *hangs head* On Easter Sunday, six days after the posting of the picture, Pastor Jenkins made his first public comment. With the cameras off, and his wife, Dr. Tara Jenkins by his side, Rev. Jenkins told his congregation that he in fact had an affair with a woman. He said that he had already asked his wife for forgiveness and was now appealing to the church asking the same. He went on to name this woman and claimed that she was now extorting him.

Mundi

After the news came my way, I immediately called this young woman. I was shocked that he had actually named her in the pulpit and claimed her responsible for the public display of his nakedness.  WTH? was my first reaction.

Extortion, I don’t think so, was my second reaction. I know her personally and in fact had learned about their affair a year earlier. She had taken “Auntie Rae” in her confidence as she tried to heal from this eight year affair. Yes, I said eight years! That day, a little over a year ago, she spilled it all to me as I sat with my mouth wide open. As she talked about rendezvous, day, night, and midday. Damn, I wondered, was he ever at home. She told me about trips at the church’s expense, promises of divorcing his wife, the broken promises he made to her, the manipulation, her feeling trapped and then ultimately her escape.

The stories were like a hot juicy Zane novel.  I asked the deeper questions, how could you? Why would you? She admitted that she was attracted to the charisma. He promised to leave his wife which was the reason behind hiring her in such a high profile position. They were a team! “He is so gifted,” she said. Mundi had bought into his dream, hook, line and sinker.  I can’t even begin to tell it all in this blog, nor is it my story to tell.  I hope one day she will tell it in its fullness. Now you know me, I finally asked, “Girl, when did you realize that he was never going to leave his wife for you? “When his wife became pregnant with their third child,” she signed. I knew that I had to get out!”

While I was shocked at her disclosure to me over a year ago, it all made sense.  I started to connect the dots. I had watched the affair up close and personal. At the time I didn’t know what I was actually seeing but as she spilled it all, I started to remember  and remember and remember. It all started with the BoardRoom, a weekly midday downtown worship service that she was instrumental in organizing.

Rev. Jenkins and Dr. Clay Evans

I thought at the time, this girl is so talented, Fellowship is lucky to have her and Pastor Jenkins is lucky to have her on his team. While I though highly of her brilliance for Fellowship, I was a little disturbed when Pastor Jenkins fired for sure two people on staff to hire Mundi. It didn’t make sense at the time, Patrick, our CFO was the bomb. He was also talent and committed. Reynonda, was Rev. Jenkins’ executive assistant at the time and she was the bomb as well.  I watched the pain in their eyes and never knew what to say. The rumor was spreading that Jenkins had made these staffing changes because Mundi was a better choice to further the goal of the new Fellowship that was shifting quickly from the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church  my mentor Rev. Clay Evans had founded. It was becoming Fellowship Chicago a modern church reaching the unchurched, especially the younger generation.

I believed in Charles Jenkins. I also believed in Mundi’s talents. I knew she came from the ivy league equivalent of cooperate America and those gifts came with a price tag; six figure price tag. Her salary at Fellowship was $106,000 but I rationalized that this was ok because this is the church of the 21st century, we need a Senior Vice-President of Operation.

Let’s be clear, Mundi Griffin left a six figure job to run the operations at  Fellowship, and while she was making $106,000 it was a significant pay cut. The fact of the matter, all of her entrepreneurial businesses also suffered as she devoted more and more time to the projects at Fellowship and of course even more time to Pastor Jenkins, which according to her was his number one priority.

As I look back, I now know he was making a way for his lover and creating a partnership  in plain sight, how could she not believe him, trust him? He had used his power as pastor to elevate her. This partnership would last 5 years as his employee and lover and another 3 years as his lover, once she left Fellowship.

I was disappointed when  Rev. Jenkins announced from the pulpit that Mundi was extorting him.  NO the truth of the matter, her lawyer sent him a letter for breach of contract in 2013, which I have seen.

I sat there puzzled, how did Rev. Jenkins make the leap to extortion? There is no lawyer on the planet, unless they want to be disbarred and go to jail, who would participate in extortion. I was even more disappointed at a missed opportunity for a pastor to be as authentic as he could be for both his healing and for the church.  Pastoral abuse is a serious issue. He had already used his leadership authority to further his relationship with Mundi, now he was using it to flip the script. I could have appreciated his Easter Sunday pulpit confession if he had not deflected the real issue onto her.  Flipping the script never works for me.

While I was in seminary, clergy abuse was a serious topic.  I learned that the greater burden of moral responsibility falls on the one with the greater power.For me this cannot be reduced to the common themes I hear when a pastors affair is made public in the Black Church, you know what I’m talking about the things we say to minimize  the truth, it goes like this: we have all sinned, we should not judge, who are we to judge, forgiveness is the core of Christianity, and the all time fav, look at David and he was a man after God’s own heart. No, this is not about making  judgements but about holding pastors accountable for how they use the pulpit for their personal agendas.

This madness has got to STOP, from Bishop Eddie Long to Rev. Jamal Bryant to  Rev. Charles Jenkins. Using your authority  and your pulpit  for your personal agenda is clergy abuse. From the pulpit, Rev. Jenkins claimed the affair started after Mundi joined the staff, but in fact it started way before. Mundi joining the staff simply gave him unlimited and immediate access to her.

That relationship began at the same time as the BoardRoom. During that time Mundi was in and out of my home, she had become close friends with Davita who became another one of my children when I first started speaking.  Looking back, I remember all those times, Davita would tell me that she was at a hotel on the Mag mile with Mundi hanging out. I get it, Davita was Mundi’s cover in this affair. He would leave the hotel and Davita would come and hangout with Mundi, to at first defray suspicion from Mundi’s own husband, Yes I said husband. This was one tangled web. That’s another story.

I’ve been talking to Mundi for the past two weeks trying to help her make sense of it all, but most importantly to get her on the road to healing. She had been a bundle of mixed emotions. One day, she has feelings of shame and another of anger  that he would out right lie on her and other days fear.

As I’ve been told her Facebook picture was screen shot by someone and circulated amongst Fellowship’s congregation as the person behind the extortion. I understand from the pulpit there was a war cry from Pastor Jenkins.

Richard Gula in his book Ethics in Pastoral Ministry argues that Pastor represents a community of faith, a religious tradition, a way of life and yes even God.” He goes on to say, “Some people feel that to talk with us {pastors} is to talk with God, or to be accepted or rejected by us is to be accepted or rejected by God.” This level of incitement from the pulpit disturbed me.

To even claim “spiritual warfare,” is not about accountability, its about deflection, and it is a thin line in the abuse of pastoral power. The truth is, Rev. Jenkins had an eight year affair, a picture got out, he have no idea where it came from, so he took a leap with no verification what so ever.

He used his pulpit authority as a weapon. There is nothing from Mundi asking for money. NOTHING! and the truth of the matter, if there were I know I would have gone to the police the day it began. But all we have is a half confession and a scape goat for his shame.

 

Mundi Griffin is actually relieved that the “affair” is no longer a secret. It’s a weight she’s been carrying.

In eight years, she kept his secret, she kept her secret, she kept their secret. Rev. Jenkins was the one who disclosed the relationship, that is an undisputed fact. On the other side of the coin, Mundi has been accused of extortion by Rev. Jenkins from his pulpit and Mundi has remained silent. Today I am giving her this voice in a unedited one on one interview.

 

RLT: Mundi, lets cut to the chase. Are you extorting Rev. Jenkins

Mundi: Hell No!  If that were the case this conversation would be taking place with me behind bars.

RLT: So you never sent him any kind of communication demanding $50,000 or you would release information about your relationship?

Mundi: Absolutely not!  Again, if that were the case this conversation would look a lot differently.

RLT: Have you had any correspondence with Rev. Jenkins regarding this incident?

Mundi: Yes, he called me a few times on the Tuesday after he made the announcement from the pulpit but I didn’t answer. Instead I sent him a text and we had a heated exchange.

RLT: From reading these text, it seems he was trying to get you to admit to extorting him. This was the first contact you had with him in any fashion regrading this matter of extortion: (see below)

Mundi: Yes

RLT: So let me ask you this, do you know this guy from the Obnoxious Blog where the picture was posted or have ever had any contact with him?

Mundi: No, I was just as shocked to read the blog as everyone else.

RLT: What did you think when you read the blog?

Mundi: Here he goes again, in yet another relationship with a woman other than his wife.

RLT: Well lets talk about that… When did your relationship begin with Rev. Jenkins?

Mundi: I joined Easter 2004. Our first conversations were via email and a few phone conversations. He was always picking my brain about his vision for Fellowship.  We would also talk fashion as he was always complementary of my fashion choices.

RLT: When did it shift?

Mundi:Well, in one planning meeting regarding the BoardRoom he asked me to step out of the meeting in the middle of the meeting.  Once we were on the other side of the door, he looked down at my finger bearing my wedding ring and asked, “What is that” “My wedding ring,” I said. He then asked, “Does he know what he has? I said “I hope so,” Now, knowing damn well that my husband didn’t know what to do with me.  My marriage had really ended before it started and my growing relationship with Charles Jenkins didn’t help it one bit. We were only married a little over a year.

RLT: Why did you kept the relationship a secret even after it was over? Some women are vindictive

Mundi: We actually ended on peaceful terms at first but there was nothing to talk about publicly.  I confided in a my close girlfriends but that was it. To what benefit would I have gained from discussing it publicly?

RLT: You didn’t want to hurt him?

Mundi: It wasn’t about “hurt”.  The relationship had ended and there was nothing to talk about.  I was anxious to leave the past where it was and move forward in a healthy relationship.

RLT: Why are you going public now?

Mundi: Because he has given me no other choice. He’s made our affair public and has painted me as a scorned woman that is extorting him.  He has fabricated a story to deflect the larger issue at hand.  He has misused the pulpit on an Easter Sunday to push his messy circumstances of infidelity and has lied while doing so.  This is an abuse of power and a misuse of the pulpit.  I want my name cleared and I want a retraction. People trust their pastor, because of this trust no one is asking the tough questions and its suppose to fly and thats some bullshit.  If I am extorting him, why hasn’t he filled charges? Where is the proof? This was inflammatory and in fact, he defamed my name.

                                              I edited Pastor Jenkins telephone number out to the top of these text messages.
charles-jenkins-text1
chaClick here to read Ms. Thornton’s 2nd post titled:  Considering the Wife
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