Not gay Ted Haggard to begin new church

Thu. November 5, 2009 12:00 AM by

Colorado Springs, CO - Ted Arthur Haggard, the former pastor who ran afoul of his Denver congregation after admitting to a three-year pay-for-sex affair with male prostitute Mike Jones, will begin leading a prayer meeting in his Colorado Springs home, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported. Haggard told the paper it would be correct to call it a church.

Haggard's comeback began in January with an image makeover that included an HBO documentary titled The Trials of Ted Haggard. The movie's premiere was preceded by appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, with wife and children in tow, and CNN's Larry King Live. During those appearances, Haggard attempted to paint himself as the victim, telling Larry King: "I think I'm still deeply wounded and scared and somewhat confused." He also returned to Colorado Springs after years in exile.

Immediately after Jones revealed their 3-year sexual association in 2006, Haggard denied being gay, saying only that he had committed "sexual immorality."

In seclusion, he underwent intensive counseling, he said. One of the four ministers who oversaw that therapy, Tim Ralph, pronounced Haggard "cured" on February 6, 2007. He said Haggard "is completely heterosexual."

In January, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the church Haggard founded and grew into a $50 million megachurch and which ultimately asked him to leave, released details about a young male church volunteer who claims he had a sexual relationship with Haggard.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard at New Life, told the Associated Press that a young man, later identified as Grant Hass, who volunteered at the church disclosed to church officials in 2006 that he had been involved with Haggard sexually for several years. Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement with the man to remain silent in exchange for payment of college tuition and counseling services.

"It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story," Boyd told the Associated Press. "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance – certainly not hush money. I know that's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."

On November 12, Haggard will lead his first prayer meeting since leaving New Life. It begins at 7PM in his home at 1865 Old Ranch Road.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine