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Disgraced minister is leaving his hometown

The Nation

April 19, 2007|From the Associated Press

DENVER — The Rev. Ted Haggard moved Wednesday from his longtime home in Colorado Springs, Colo., to Phoenix, where the disgraced minister will join the same church that helped fallen televangelist Jim Bakker.

Haggard, 50, resigned as president of the National Assn. of Evangelicals last year after a former male prostitute alleged a three-year cash-for-sex relationship. The man also said he saw Haggard use methamphetamine. Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and said he bought meth but never used it.

As part of his severance package from New Life Church, a 14,000-member congregation he started in his basement, Haggard agreed to leave Colorado Springs, a city he helped make an evangelical center.

"When he moved out of town today, there was a kind of relief on the part of the church that life can get back to normal," said the Rev. H.B. London, one of three ministers overseeing Haggard's "restoration." "For the Haggards, it is the beginning of a huge new chapter. It's a brand new start for them, the beginning of a new beginning."

Before his fall, Haggard was an emerging voice in evangelical politics. He took part in White House conference calls and fought to broaden the movement's agenda to include environmental issues.

In Phoenix, Haggard plans to pursue a graduate degree in counseling, London said. He was not sure where Haggard would be studying. The Haggards and two of their children are expected to live in a home made available by a supporter.

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