Pastor Apologizes After Calling Congregants 'Poor' and 'Cheap' for Not 'Honoring' Him with Luxury Watch

·3 min read
Church at the Well
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A Missouri pastor apologized after a video of him calling his congregation "poor, broke, busted and disgusted" for not buying him a luxury watch during a sermon went viral on social media.

On Tuesday, Carlton Funderburke, the senior pastor at Church at the Well in Kansas City, addressed the controversy surrounding his Aug. 7 sermon in a live Facebook video.

"Though there is context behind the content of the clip, no context will suffice to explain the hurt and anguish caused by my words," he said in the video. "I've spoken to those I am accountable to and have received their correction and instruction."

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Funderburk added that he privately apologized to the church, which has continued to extend its "love and support" to him.

"The video clip does not reflect my heart or my sentiments toward God's people, yet that's not discernible in the clip. Therefore, I offer this sincere apology to you today," he said. "No context could erase the words I used. I apologize to all who have been hurt, angered, or in any way damaged by my words. The zeal of any presentation must be tempered with love and respect, and that was not displayed."

"To those who know and love me, thank you for your support. To those who now know me because of this video clip, I regret that your first impression of me is one of anger, hate and resentment. My actions and my words are inexcusable," he added. "I offer no justification or defense. That moment was mishandled and mismanaged. I deeply regret this moment."

He concluded, "I solicit your prayers and your forgiveness as we grow forward."

Church at the Well did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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In a viral TikTok from his Aug. 7 sermon, which was shared by the Kansas City Defender, a digital media company, Funderburke spoke animatedly about not receiving a luxury watch from his congregation.

"That's how I know you're still poor, broke, busted and disgusted, because of how you've been honoring me," he said. "I'm not worth your McDonald's money? I'm not worth your Red Lobster money? I ain't worth your St. John Knit? Y'all can't afford it no how. I ain't worth y'all Louis Vuitton? I ain't worth your Prada? I'm not worth your Gucci?"

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"You can buy a Movado watch in Sam's [Club]," he added. "And y'all know I asked for one last year. Here it is the whole way in August, I still ain't got it. Y'all ain't said nothing. Let me kick down the door and talk to my cheap sons and daughters."

Funderburke and his wife Sylvarena founded Church at The Well, which is described as a "charismatic non-denominational church" on its Facebook page.