Stedfast Baptist Pator Jonathan Shelley

After being evicted from their former location in Hurst earlier this year, Stedfast Baptist Church and its pastor, Jonathan Shelley, are being sued by the landlord at that location, who alleges that Shelley and members of his congregation damaged the property before moving out.

The lawsuit was  filed June 17 with the Tarrant County District Clerk by Fellowship of the Sword Inc., which owns the commercial space at 700 W. Bedford Euless Road, Ste. A, in Hurst. The lawsuit claims that Stedfast Baptist — after being ordered to do so first by a justice of the peace and then by a county court at law judge following a trial — finally vacated the space “on or around March 5” this year, but not before “substantially damag[ing] the premises while moving out . …”

The church neither “neither repaired nor remedied the damage” and therefore violated the lease agreement they had signed.

Fellowship of the Sword is asking the court to  order Stedfast Baptist to pay the cost of repairing the actual damages to the property and to pay all of the landlord company’s attorneys’ fees plus interest.

After being evicted from the space in Hurst, Stedfast Baptist now meets in a space at 6900 Denton Highway in Watauga. The church’s various bank accounts are currently under the control of the court due to a separate lawsuit debating who is actually on Stedfast’s board of directors. The trio of Leslye Romero, Ryan Gallagher and Seth Bookout say they are the legal board members, and they want to close out the nonprofit and shut the church down.

After the three of them gained access to the church’s numerous bank accounts last fall and then fired Shelley as pastor when they determined he had been embezzling funds, Shelley filed paperwork claiming that he, his wife Keri Shelley and church member Ryan Urbanek are the legal board.

That legal battle continues.

— Tammye Nash