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Friday, May 14, 2010

Suckers Continue to Be Born Every Minute as Pastor Ted Haggard Starts a New Church

Ted Haggard is back. The disgraced former pastor and his loyal wife Gayle (her new book is out on why she stayed with him) have incorporated a new church -- sort of.

A new church incorporation in Colorado Springs tends to pass unnoticed. After all, there are some 500 churches in the area.

But an incorporation last week stands out because it was done by none other than Ted and Gayle Haggard.

The Haggards give their home address on Old Ranch Road as the site of their new church, which they call St. James. The name is a nod to the passage “faith without works is dead” in the Book of James.

Ted Haggard said Tuesday that St. James was incorporated “to keep the accounting in order” of the paid talks they’ve given for about a year and a half at evangelical churches across the country. The Haggards incur out-of-pocket expenses while on the road, so St. James is a way to be reimbursed for those costs in an orderly manner, he said.

But Haggard doesn’t rule out the possibility that St. James will become in the future a bona fide church with a members roll and choir.

“Sometime, somewhere we will do some type of ministry,” Haggard said.

Interest in Haggard’s ministry plans have been high ever since he and his family returned to Colorado Springs in June 2008.

The Haggards had been living for months in other states due to an agreement he reached with board members at New Life Church at the time of Haggard’s sex scandal in November 2006. Among the stipulations that Haggard agreed to were to resign as senior pastor of the church he founded 25 years ago and leave Colorado Springs, according to Haggard.

Haggard laid low about his Springs ministry plans until November 2009, when he held a prayer meeting at his home that he also referred to as a church gathering. A week later, he held another prayer meeting, this time in his barn.

Because of the crush of people attending, more than 100 people for each meeting, Haggard realized he would need to rent space to accommodate everyone, he said. But he wasn’t ready to do that. So he suspended gatherings through the holidays and focused again on his and Gayle’s weekly itinerant church talks.

Former New Life member Richard Tegtmeier said Tuesday that if the Haggards offer future St. James gatherings, he’ll be there.

“Ted is a very effective teacher,” Tegtmeier said. “The extreme difficulty he’s been through has deepened and enriched his life.”

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