Newspring Pastor Perry Noble fired from megachurch

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Leaders of South Carolina’s massive NewSpring Church said Sunday that its founder has been ousted as senior pastor over issues including alcohol use.

The Greenville News reports that another church leader, executive pastor Shane Duffey, announced at a Sunday service that the Christian church had removed the Rev. Perry Noble on July 1.

Duffey said the removal came after the “unfortunate choices” by Noble. He said the church’s board had confronted Noble multiple times about his use of alcohol.

A statement attributed to Noble and read during the service confirmed that he overused alcohol.

“No one is more disappointment in me than I am in myself,” Noble said in the statement.

Noble didn’t immediately respond to an email Sunday from The Associated Press seeking further comment.

The church’s website says that 30,000 people attend services each week at 17 NewSpring locations around the state. The church’s 2015 annual report on its website said that its income was about $64 million for the year.

The church traces its roots to a Bible study that began in Noble’s Anderson apartment in 1998 and grew to more than 100 people, according to the newspaper. The church held its first service in 2000 at Anderson University.

NewSpring is listed in a directory of churches on the website of the Southern Baptist Convention, but the newspaper reports that leaders of the organization previously criticized Noble over secular music used by the church.