A day after Ted Haggard appeared as a guest at MyChurch in Midland, he met privately with 15 Columbus pastors to talk about the way Christians treat each other in their differences.
The clergy met at Jumpin’ Java off Whitesville Road, according to the Rev. Jeff Murphy of MyChurch. Murphy, who attended the gathering, then took Haggard back to the airport.
“It was a great meeting,” Murphy said Monday.
For about 90 minutes, the clergy covered such themes as grace and repentance.
Saying all “sin is sin,” Murphy said Christians tend to elevate certain ones unfairly, notably homosexuality.
Haggard founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 1984, when meetings started in his home. He is also the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.
In 2006, he resigned from the church after soliciting a gay prostitute for sex and methamphetamine. In addition, New Life confirmed this past January that it’d paid a six-figure settlement to a 20-year-old man, a former church volunteer, who said he’d had non-consensual sex with Haggard.
Haggard is married with children. His wife Gayle has stuck by him. After admitting the relationships, Haggard spent three weeks in intense counseling, after which he announced he remained heterosexual.
“We all have differences of opinions, thoughts and ideas,” said Murphy, whose church is six months old. “Our understanding of the gospel is that Jesus came to give people a second chance.”
In fact, “Second Chance” is the name of a sermon series at MyChurch. It will go on two more weeks. Murphy e-mailed Haggard recently and asked him to be part of the series. Murphy said Monday he’d received “phenomenal feedback” from the Sunday service.
“There are people who have been wounded or jaded — not by Jesus but by the church. They have been kicked to the curb,” he said. “We’re helping people find their way back to God. We’re all in a process of finding out how great God is.”
MyChurch is six months old.