Members of Healing Place Church have expressed disappointment and support for Pastor Dino Rizzo following his resignation from the megachurch last Sunday.
Days after Rizzo announced that he and his wife, DeLynn, were stepping down as pastors of the Baton Rouge, La., church, some from the congregation went to Facebook to wish the couple the best.
"I am so proud of Pastor Dino. It hurts to see him leave, but it's wrong to keep a man of God when he has a call on his life," said Chris Hjhh on the church's Facebook wall. "I wish you both luck an praise you for stepping out on Gods faith an doing what you are led to do. Many doors will Be opened an pray for you every step of the way. Love you guys."
But one member who also had only positive things to say about Rizzo expressed a desire to look more into the situation.
"I tried to stay positive last week under the circumstances of loosing the greatest Pastor I've ever met! Then last night I got my email informing me that LTD (Live the Dream conference) was canceled! So one week we lost our Pastor and the next week LTD! Making it really hard not to look more into it now! I understand we need to heal as a church but i have to say this is making it harder!" Lacy Parker Gautreaux commented.
Last Sunday, the Rizzos, who founded Healing Place in 1993, announced that God was moving them into "a new season" of their lives. They, however, did not share any specific plans.
The resignation – which Rizzo said was their choice – came months after the church's spirituality board had the Rizzos take a sabbatical "for healing, reflection and restoration of spirit, soul and body."
According to an official statement by the church on Tuesday, Dino Rizzo had informed the congregation two months ago of his need to step down to begin a season of rest, reflection and personal healing.
"At that time, Pastor Dino made it known to all, including the Board of Directors and the Spirituality Board (Presbyters), that he was not well in his spirit, soul, and body, and in that depleted condition he made decisions in his personal life that were wrong and negatively impacted his marriage, his family and his ability to lead Healing Place Church. After prayerful consideration, both Pastor Dino and Pastor DeLynn concluded that the appropriate thing to do, for all concerned, was for them to resign their positions of ministry at the church.
"This decision will allow them to devote their complete and undivided attention to healing their marriage and family and to earnestly seek the Lord's will for their future lives in ministry."
Rizzo told the congregation on Sunday, according to The Advocate, that he has "needed a lot of mercy and a lot of grace" over the last couple of months. "To those I have disappointed, I want to say forgive me. I'm sorry if I've ever disappointed you as pastor."
Though many in the church were shocked, Chris Hodges, one of Healing Place Church's overseers, indicated to the congregation that no additional details would be given about the Rizzos.
"I know you want more than what's being said here today but can you be OK that the seven of us (overseers) know?" Hodges asked, according to The Advocate. "We're going to take care of them and we're going to take care of you. Trust me."
In an update Friday, the church announced that "due to the recent resignation of our Pastors Dino & DeLynn Rizzo, our Presbyters felt that it was best to postpone [the Live the Dream Conference] indefinitely in order for us to have a time of healing as a family."
Live the Dream is an event geared toward women.
Healing Place Church is a multisite church attended by over 6,000 people. Its vision is to be a healing place for a hurting world. Pastors Mike and Rachel Haman have been selected to serve as the interim senior pastors.