Megachurch Pastor Rodney Washington‘s Widow Sues After She‘s Fired From Church-Owned Hotel
By , Christian Post Reporter | Sep 22, 2018 4:15 PM (Screenshot/Photo: First Coast News; Facebook)April Washington (inset) and her late husband Apostle R.J. Washington.
Just over a year after her husband died of an unspecified cancer, April Washington, widow of R.J. Washington Sr. who founded the in Jacksonville, Florida, is suing officials at the church after she was ousted from the organization.
“This is what we did and we did it together,” the widow of the approximately $35 million Christian empire she built with her late husband that includes a church-owned hotel called Marble Waters.
She is now fighting to regain her status in that empire after the church‘s board of directors allegedly changed the Articles of Corporation for the organization where she was once vice president and her husband was president. She contends that the board illegally added members to oust her from the soul-winning business.
“This is wrong,” Washington‘s lawyer, Marwan Porter of the Cochran Firm, said. “What they‘ve done, we believe is wrong.”
Months after her husband died last May, Washington says she was removed from church leadership while locks were changed and her children were fired from Marble Waters.
“This is a story of an opportunist who took advantage of a grieving widow so they could seize and pillage the assets of a church,” attorney Bacardi Jackson of the Tucker Law Group told First Coast News.
Despite the church‘s $35 million in assets, Washington said her fight is more about soul winning and protecting her husband‘s legacy.
“It is not about dollars it is about regaining and rebuilding a church, bringing it back together,” said Jackson, who filed her lawsuit against the church in November 2017.
She says the church is now hemorrhaging members but she plans to fight the church‘s current administration for as long as it takes.
“It is very hard to sit back and look at this knowing this is definitely not something my husband would want to see,” she said.
The Christian Post officials at and will update this piece when a response is received.
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According to the , Washington, who was 54 when he died, had three advanced degrees including a doctorate of divinity. He grew the church from a handful of members in 1985 to more than 8,000 members. He also reached an audience of millions through his televangelism via popular cable networks such as BET and Daystar Television.
Washington was an icon of leadership for many in his community. His death attracted reactions from celebrities such as former NFL star Deion Sanders.
Shortly after his death, the late pastor‘s brother, Abraham Lincoln Washington, pledged to continue winning souls, according to .
“Our goal is to continue the vision. It‘s always been about trying to win souls for the Kingdom; loving, helping, and serving our fellow man. And the church will follow the vision of apostle Washington,” said Abraham. “We‘re going to continue to shepherd the flock, so many people that apostle Washington has touched all over the country. Locally, it will be my privilege to be able to serve this congregation, serve the first family and to do all we can to give the city direction.”
A court hearing for April Washington‘s lawsuit against the church is set for January 2019.