New Life Church cuts last ties with Ted Haggard

The relationship between Ted Haggard the Colorado Springs mega-church he founded is over, according to a statement from New Life Church this evening.

Haggard was fired from the church in November 2006 after he admitted to “sexual immorality,” presumably the allegations made by a gay Denver escort who said Haggard paid him for sex over a three-years.

The statement notes that Haggard agreed to “a process of spiritual restoration” in January 2007, but now has asked to end his relationship with the church.

Haggard could not be reached for comment.

“Ted Haggard’s leadership of New Life Church for many years was extraordinary and the depth of spiritual maturity that is found today in the church is in large part attributed to his leadership as the founding senior pastor,” the statement said, adding that the church’s “overseers” and “restorers” would not make further comment about Haggard’s “spiritual restoration.”

New Life added that Haggard has joined another mega-church, Phoenix First Assembly of God, and that its founding pastor, Tommy Barnett, is overseeing an “accountability relationship” with the disgraced Colorado pastor. Barnett could not be reached Tuesday night.

New Life has been at odds with its former pastor since he left.

In its statement Tuesday night, church officials said, “New Life recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.”

In August, Haggard told a Colorado Springs television station that he would be joining the counseling staff of The Dream Center, a drug-addiction halfway house affiliated with Phoenix First Assembly. The job, however, never materialized, officials with the Phoenix church said after Haggard’s proclamation.

Haggard also irritated New Life leaders by requesting donations to support him and his family while he got a degree in counseling at the University of Phoenix. The donations were to be collected by Families with a Mission, a Monument non-profit run by Paul Huberly, a twice-convicted registered sex offender.

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This post was last updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 7:04 AM, Central European Time (CET)