*The Rev. John J. Hunter, who last fall was abruptly reassigned from First African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black church in Los Angeles, has been fired from his post at a San Francisco church, reports the L.A. Times.
“I hereby immediately relieve you of the pastoral charge of Bethel AME Church,” Bishop Larry T. Kirkland wrote in a letter to Hunter dated Friday. “You will have no further contact with that congregation in an official capacity.”
Hunter could not immediately be reached for comment.
In January, the judicial body of the African Methodist Episcopal Church denied Hunter’s petition to return to First AME, the storied black church in Los Angeles.
Hunter was moved after a controversial eight-year tenure in L.A. that was clouded by a federal tax investigation, a sexual harassment lawsuit and the questionable use of $122,000 in church credit cards.
Hunter, who was moved from First AME in October, challenged his reassignment to Bethel AME after that congregation rejected him. He maintains that his rights as a minister were violated, saying Kirkland moved him to a smaller church without the proper 90-day notice and without reason.
The church’s governing book states that a “new appointment, when available, shall be comparable to or better than the previous one.” First AME has a congregation of 19,000; Bethel AME’s membership is 650.