A former member of the Grace Christian World Church tells us the Rev. Stedroy Williams, the pastor featured in the February 24 issue of New Times ("Preying on the Congregation," Julie Kay), has stepped down. The change came at the urging of a bishop he invited to investigate his church late last month. He also canceled his nightly paid radio show on WEXY-AM (1520), according to an employee of the station.
But the leadership of the nondenominational church and its congregation -- what's left of it -- will still stay in the Williams family. The same day Williams stepped down, the bishop hastily ordained Williams' wife, Shernet, who several former church members say has no ministerial experience.
Neither Williams nor his wife was available for comment; however, the former member, who was a musician at the church, said most people in the congregation consider the leadership switch an obvious ploy on Williams' part to hold on to the church he started five years ago. We are told that only four people attended services last Sunday. In fact attendance has fallen so low, a source says, that the Williamses are having trouble paying the rent at the storefront church and are shopping for cheaper digs.
As New Times reported, several female parishioners have accused Williams of making sexual advances and two police reports were filed -- one by the father of a nine-year-old girl and another by a woman in Montreal, where Williams served as visiting minister in December. But Williams may avoid a charge in either case. Both Lauderhill and Montreal police say they have had trouble getting in touch with the alleged victims for follow-up investigations.
Could we be seeing the second death of disco?
The reports out of South Beach are that the internationally famous club scene is waning. Still breathing (or inhaling) but definitely in need of a transfusion.
The second-tier celebs are continuing to drop in, but the steam is slowly being let out. The beat is slowing down. Only a few clubs out of a couple dozen are doing enough business to survive the upcoming summer season.
Some observers think the bust of glam muscle-boy Chris Paciello (see "Fight Club," December 23) and the exposure of the seedy underbelly of the club scene had something to do with it; others say it is just the natural down cycle of a fad that has been going pretty strong for almost ten years. Club kids age too. After all, how many pulsating bass beats and twinkling lights can one person take? The muscle boys in black shirts and gold chains and the slinky gals with push-up bras just may be going out of style.
So, of course, the South Beach-style club is migrating north to Broward County to test the waters here and see if it is colored green.
We say anything bigger and better is welcome.
But we also think it's fun to see the limos pull up and eject some trashy middle-aged beauty and a guy with one of those thin, graying pony tails and watch them be escorted to the Champagne Room while Cher asks us, "Do you believe?"
Sure, for now.
Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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