Technically, it only took three weeks of intensive “restoration” a full year ago to make Ted Haggard a “complete heterosexual.” But on Tuesday night, the new pastor of the Colorado Springs megachurch that Haggard founded has announced that Haggard is quitting the team — and that “the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete.”The latest twist in the Haggard drama comes via a vaguely-worded letter sent Tuesday to friends of New Life Church by its new pastor, Brady Boyd. In the letter, Boyd indicates that Haggard — the charismatic evangelical leader who was fired by his church in early November 2006 in a shocking gay sex and meth scandal involving male escort Mike Jones — is moving on.
After he was fired, Haggard and his family, including his wife and three boys, moved to Phoenix. Haggard agreed at the time to undergo “spiritual restoration” under the auspices of New Life Church. At the time, the church’s claim of Haggard’s so-termed “restored” sexual orientation status was met with disbelief from many quarters, most notably from the Christian group Soulforce, whose gay and lesbian members reject claims that homosexuality is either:
a. Something that can be “cured, or,”
b. A sin.
Here is Boyd’s Tuesday letter and release:
Dear New Life Church family and friends,
Today, our church’s board of trustees will release a statement regarding the end of the restoration process for Ted Haggard. This process may receive some media attention, and I want you to hear of it from us before you read about it in the newspaper or hear it on the evening news.
Let’s continue to pray for Ted, Gayle, and their family.
God bless you,
New Life Church
Colorado Springs, CO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ted Haggard’s leadership of New Life Church for many years was extraordinary and the depth of spiritual maturity that is found today in the church is in large part attributed to his leadership as the founding senior pastor.
In January 2007, Ted Haggard voluntarily agreed to enter a process of spiritual restoration. He has selected Phoenix First Assembly and Pastor Tommy Barnett as his local church fellowship and is maintaining an accountability relationship there. He has recently requested to end his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team and this has been accepted by them.
New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.
Because spiritual restoration is a necessarily confidential process, the church does not anticipate that it, or its Overseers or Restorers, will make further comment about it.
Note: On Nov. 2, Colorado Confidential – which has been following the Haggard scandal since it broke, published a comprehensive summary of the ongoing saga — including a brief return by Haggard last fall, who sent out a cash-for-heaven plea for donations. That synopsis can be read by clicking here.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at The Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org