Haggard Ends Restoration Process with Overseers

Ted Haggard's journey of "spiritual restoration" came to a halt this week at the request of the ousted New Life Church pastor.

A year after Haggard agreed to enter counseling with four ministers after his sex scandal, he asked to end the team's oversight of his recovery program. But New Life Church officials believe the termination of the relationship is premature, according to a statement on Tuesday.

Early last year, just months into his recovery program, the overseers had indicated that the restoration process could take years.

"New Life recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry," read the statement.

Haggard, founder of New Life in Colorado Springs, resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals in November 2006 and was fired from New Life Church after a former male prostitute alleged a three-year cash-for-sex relationship. Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" and to buying methamphetamine.

The former megachurch pastor now lives in Phoenix and is a member of Phoenix First Assembly of God. Pastor Tommy Barnett, one of the overseers in the restoration team, said he will maintain an "accountability relationship" with Haggard.

Barnett runs the Phoenix Dream Center, helping the homeless, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes. In August, Haggard had reportedly said he would move in to the Dream Center, saying he could identify with the people there. But Haggard's counseling team denied the report and said he will not be doing any ministry work.

Since early in the recovery process, the overseers have strongly urged Haggard to seek secular employment.

New Life's statement said Haggard's leadership of the church had been extraordinary "for many years" and wished him and his family success in the future."

The church would not make further comment about Haggard's "spiritual restoration," the statement further said.

Haggard was replaced in August by Brady Boyd, former associate senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. Despite a drop in attendance since the sex scandal, the now 10,000-member New Life congregation has been recovering under new leadership.

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