Saturday, November 04, 2006

Daaaaaaaaaaaang, that was quick

Haggard's been permenately removed from his pastoral office. An independant investigative board of his New Life Church met and acted swiftly. Here is the story:

The Rev. Ted Haggard agreed to resign as leader of the New Life Church after its independent investigative board recommended removal, saying he was guilty "of sexually immoral conduct."

"We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard," a statement from the church said. "Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."

Haggard was "informed of this decision," the statement said, and he "agreed as well that he should be dismissed."

A man describing himself as an escort told news media this week that Haggard, who also has resigned as president of the influential National Asssociation of Evangelicals, had been paying him for sex for three years.

Haggard immediately denied the allegations, but later acknowledged having paid the man for a massage and to provide methamphetamine.

The church's statement said the investigation would continue to determine how extensive Haggard's misconduct was.

The Rev. Ross Parsley will lead the church until a permanent replacement for Haggard is chosen, something that should happen by the end of the year, the statement said. A letter explaining Haggard's removal and an apology from Haggard will be read at Sunday services.

"The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has 'demonstrated immoral conduct' whether we must 'remove the pastor from his position or discipline him in anyway they deem necessary,"' the statement said.

"In consultation with leading evangelical and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal," it continued.

James Groesbeck, a church elder, said he was glad the investigative board acted quickly.

"I'm saddened by what came out, but I think they've done their job," Groesbeck said by telephone. Church members are drawing strength from one another and are caught up in the activity, but that likely will change, he said.

"I think it's going to be really difficult in a week or two," Groesbeck said.

Go here to read the whole story
from the Associated Press.

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