Haggard's e-mail and announcement 'unacceptable,' overseers say
By BRIAN NEWSOME
August 29, 2007 - 6:14PM
Disgraced minister Ted Haggards e-mailed plea for money and his announced intention to return to religious work was unacceptable and inappropriate, according to a statement today by pastors overseeing his recovery.
The four-pastor team of overseers said in the statement that Haggard must seek secular employment to support himself and his family.
Reached by phone, Haggard said today he is barred from commenting on the overseers statement.
The overseers were assigned to help Haggard and his former church, New Life in Colorado Springs, recover from the scandal that broke in November when a former male prostitute said he and Haggard had a three-year sexual relationship and that Haggard had used methamphetamines.
Their authority over Haggard is written into the bylaws of New Life Church, which agreed to pay a severance package to Haggard that includes a years salary of $138,000. An agreement stipulates that Haggard must not talk publicly about his leaving the 10,000-member church.
Last week Haggard, who moved to Phoenix after he was fired by the Colorado Springs megachurch, sent an e-mail to ABC affiliate KRDO about his plans to work in a faith-based halfway house known as the Dream Center. The Dream Center is run by Tommy Barnett, one of Haggards spiritual mentors and head of the 15,000-member Phoenix First Assembly of God, which Haggard now attends.
Haggard asked for two years of monthly support while he worked and lived in the Dream Center and he and his wife finished earning degrees at the University of Phoenix.
The announcement came as a surprise to the overseers and the Dream Center.
According to the statement:
After their fact-finding was complete, they (overseers) informed Mr. Haggard that his plan and his communications about it were unacceptable. Mr. Haggards solicitation for personal support was inappropriate. It was never the intention of the Dream Center that Mr. Haggard would provide any counsel or other ministry. Mr. Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Dream Center. He will not be doing any ministry. He will be seeking secular employment to support himself and his family.
The statement did not say whether Haggard may have violated his agreement with the overseers. One of them, the Rev. Mike Ware, said before the release of the statement that they would not discuss Haggard or answer questions.
Asked whether the agreement with the overseers was still in effect, Haggard said, Yes.
Once one of the countrys most influential religious figures, Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was removed from New Life when former escort Mike Jones said Haggard had paid him for gay sex and that Haggard would sometimes use methamphetamines. Haggard confessed to buying drugs and later admitted to sexual immorality.