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Monday, February 05, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Ted Haggard leaving Colorado

Ted Haggard, founder and former senior pastor of New Life Church, plans to leave Colorado Springs and move to Iowa or Missouri to return to college, according to a message he e-mailed Sunday to some church members.

Haggard’s family has been “offered two places” in the Midwestern states, Haggard wrote. He and his wife, Gayle, will go back to school together, but Haggard didn’t specify what college or university they would attend.

“We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives,” Haggard wrote.

The nationally known minister was dismissed
from the pulpit in the wake of a sex and drug scandal that rocked the evangelical movement.

On Nov. 1, Denver escort Mike Jones said he and Haggard had a three-year tryst and that he watched Haggard take methamphetamine.

Haggard initially denied the allegations, but he resigned as president of the National Association of Evangel- icals on Nov. 2. Church officials then confirmed some of the allegations were true.

Haggard told members of the media that he purchased meth from Jones but never used it.

Rob Brendle, associate pastor at the 14,000-member New Life Church, said Sunday night that Haggard and the Board of Overseers — a fourmember board of outside pastors that dismissed Haggard from the pulpit — had discussed Haggard’s future for several weeks.

Brendle was unsure whether the e-mail was sent at Haggard’s initiative or was suggested by the overseers.

“I’m grateful for an arrangement that will enable Ted to focus on his spiritual and emotional restoration, and one that enables New Life Church to focus on this season of transition,” Brendle said. “It seems like a win-win.”

In his e-mail, Haggard said he had undergone three weeks of intense psychological counseling in Phoenix.

“We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life,” he wrote. “Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for a future.”

Haggard said he hasn’t communicated with church members lately because he’s been “paralyzed by shame.”

“But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life,” Haggard wrote. “I look forward to communicating with greater ease.”

Ted Haggard email to New Life Church

Here is the text of the e-mail Ted Haggard sent to some members of New Life Church:

Jesus is starting to put me back together. I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things I’ve done and the negative impact my actions have had on others. That sadness continues as my family and I, along with so many others, go through the painful consequences of my actions. Jesus and his followers, though, have saved my life. As part of New Life’s efforts to help me, they sent Gayle and me to Phoenix for a three-week psychological intensive that gave us three years worth of analysis and treatment. We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life. Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for a future.

Gayle and I have decided to move from Colorado Springs to go back to school. We love Colorado Springs so much, and will always regard the believers at New Life Church as family, but we have to go in order to let the church determine its own course and for us to retrain. We haven't decided where we are moving but so far have been offered two places, one in Iowa and one in Missouri. We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives. Since we are taking our classes on-line, we can live anywhere that’s affordable. Then we’ll travel to location for short in-class requirements.

Thank you so much for your love and prayers during this horrific time of transition in our lives. For the last three months, I’ve not been communicative because I’ve been paralyzed by shame. But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life. I look forward to communicating with greater ease.

God bless,

Ted Haggard

“We are Easter People.”