Albert Tate tells Fellowship Church he's in a ‘daily fight with embarrassment, shame and guilt’

Albert Tate is the founding and lead pastor of Fellowship Church in Los Angeles County, California.
Albert Tate is the founding and lead pastor of Fellowship Church in Los Angeles County, California. | YouTube/Exponential

Just over a month after leaders at Fellowship Church announced that their charismatic founder and leader Albert Tate was placed on a leave of absence over "inappropriate text messages and questionable comments," he apologized to his congregation Sunday and admitted he is in a "daily fight with embarrassment, shame and guilt" over his sin.

Appearing with his wife, LaRosa, at Monrovia High School in Los Angeles County, California, where thousands of the church's members gather every Sunday to worship, Tate delivered a poignant confession without stating many details about the sin which will keep him out of his pulpit until January.

"A year ago, I engaged in an inappropriate text messaging," he is heard saying in an audio recording from Sunday's service shared on the church's website.

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"My wife saw it very quickly, and by God's grace, we started to do deep work with therapy, with community, with our board. They all came alongside us and not only gave us accountability but also gave us encouragement and a path to redeem and restoration."

Tate called the challenges he faced over the last year a "private journey, not a secret." He said that although his infidelity deeply affected his family, his wife and all but one of his four children have already forgiven him.

"I'm so thankful for all the people that came around us. The family members and the other pastors that walked with us through that, in that sin," he said. "I asked my wife to forgive me, and she did. And I asked my kids to forgive me. And three out of four so far have."

The popular California pastor also apologized to his staff, a group of which released a letter shared with The Christian Post, alleging a variety of abuses, including financial misconduct, sexual harassment and the silencing of former employees with non-disclosure agreements.

"The Senior Pastor (with knowledge of the Board) negotiated severance payments and paid employees who willingly resigned from Fellowship upon their signature of non-disclosure agreements (NDA)," documentation attached to the letter said.

"Unbeknownst to the recipients, these hush money payments came at least in part from Fellowship's designated funds, which are set apart for specific purposes, and despite it being a Fellowship policy that employees who resign do not get severance."

The staffers also allege Tate engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment on the job but was given a "pass" by the board.

"When presented with multiple credible allegations of sexual harassment against the Senior Pastor, the Board has not maintained the same standards of discipline that apply to the rest of staff; another staff member was terminated for sexual harassment allegations in early 2023," the staffers allege.

In a statement released by Fellowship Church highlighting a restoration plan for Tate as he seeks to return to the pulpit in January, the church's board insisted that they acted with integrity for the benefit of the church.

"The board is aware of a letter and text sent by some members of staff and some congregants expressing impassioned concerns for the welfare of Fellowship. The board has reviewed all questions, allegations, and issues brought to our attention, and, where relevant, discussed these with Albert, with staff, and with congregants," the church said.

"With every good faith effort, and in as timely a way as we have been able to manage, the board has acted with integrity and is resolute that its decisions were made for the benefit of Fellowship Church."

In his statement to Sunday, Tate admitted that "I was not the best that I could have been."

"As a leader who has experienced sin in his life, and as I confess my sin publicly, has walked in repentance now with my family, I walk in repentance with you," Tate said. "I simply ask for your forgiveness. No one who volunteers or works on staff signs up to work at a place that's chaotic. It doesn't have clarity. And that's disappointing and hurtful and painful."

"So for the people that signed up to say, 'I want to work at a church,' and for the staff that says, 'I want to use my godly gifts to give … to the people of God,' for the disappointment that you've experienced, the hurt and the pain, I just want to say to the staff that's transition off, to staff that are currently transitioning off, as we go through change, and as we try to rebuild the staff that will be here on the other side of that, as a leader, I repent to each of you," he continued.

"Just for the chaos and the distraction and the confusion, and the disappointment and the hurt and the pain that you've experienced. No one signs up for that, and I deeply, deeply am sorry for my contribution. And I take, as a senior leader, I take full responsibility for it all. And I ask for forgiveness."

Tate, 46, founded the "gospel-centered, multiethnic, intergenerational church" in 2012. By 2017, the church had attracted some 3,500 people to worship at Monrovia High School weekly.

In her brief remarks to the church, LaRosa Tate declared her commitment to her family and said she was leaning on God's supernatural strength.

"I love my husband, our pastor. I love my kids. I love my family. But above all that, I love the Lord," she said.

"The only reason why I can stand up here today with all the eyes on me feeling uncomfortable [is] because of His deep love for me. This has been one of the hardest seasons of my life, of my family's life. And yet I know God in a way that I never would have known Him," she said.

Tate said even though he thought about quitting many times, the grace the congregation has shown him has kept him going.

"I tell you what, I'm fighting. So many of you have asked how to pray. I just want you to know I've been in a boxing match, a daily fight with embarrassment, shame, and guilt," he said. "I've never thought about quitting. But in this season, I've thought about it almost every day. And just when I think I can't take any more, you all just kept showing up."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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