Church Leaders Explain Pastor’s Departure

Parishioners Speak With Action 7 News’ Rod Green

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Sunday, church leaders at Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque tried to explain last week’s sudden departure of Senior Pastor Pete Nelson.

Action 7 News’ Rod Green broke the story and talked with parishioners who were puzzled by his resignation.

Green also reported that the church brought in some area religious leaders to calm any discontent within the community.

The Rev. Franklin Graham was asked to come to the congregation in the wake of Nelson’s departure.

“What we hope to see is a spirit of healing and reconciliation,” said Paul Saber, a Calvary Board member.

“Franklin wanted to be here to offer his support for the church,” Saber said. “For years he’s been involved with the church.”

Graham told the congregation that he was on the board that hired Nelson. He also said there was a concern that the young preacher didn’t have the experience to run a mega-church.

Graham said it was his idea to keep founding Pastor Skip Heitzig on as chairman in the church, allowing Nelson to handle pastoral duties.

According to Graham, it was a situation that Nelson was unable to accept.

Saber said the ideal situation for the church would be to deal with grievances between one another.

“When you’re a Christian and a believer, you live in a big old fishbowl — people always know what you’re doing, and they’re more concerned sometimes, no offense to the media, in portraying what’s wrong instead of what’s right,” said church member Eve Allesandra.

“Whether it was political or not, he (Graham) brought it into the proper light, all the speculation that was out there and everything,” said church member Brian Mitchener.

Saber said there’s no time limit in finding a replacement for Nelson.

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Feb. 26, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday February 27, 2006.
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