Well, I kinda pegged this one last week… Ted Haggard’s launch party for his new St. James Church happened last week.Â A few interesting observations about the first service…
1.Â According to media reports, only 160 people attended the first service of this new church.Â That’s with nation-wide media coverage that it was going to happen; and in a town that is nearly the evangelical mecca of the United States.Â Seems like a whole bunch of people just don’t care about Ted these days.Â Even an LA PR firm wasn’t able to drum up a crowd.
2.Â People that were there:Â a production company that was filming the whole thing for a documentary; and a gay couple (that was recruited from CraigsList), one of whom who shared what an inspiration Ted was.
3.Â When asked whether he feels homosexuality is a sin, Haggard told CNN’s Joy Behar:Â “Sexuality, no matter which grouping, is complex. It’s confusing and some people have healthy sexuality, other people have unhealthy sexuality. They’re on their own journeys with God. They’ve got to work that out. And what we’re going to do at St. James Church is encourage them in their process to get that settled in their life.”
4.Â Here’s a bit from an article on Beliefnet:
Haggard’s new church will embrace an open-door philosophy that could raise eyebrows among some evangelicals. The former evangelical icon has said he supports equal civil rights for gays and lesbians, even though he will bar openly homosexual members from leadership positions.
“Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who go to Tea Party rallies. If you are straight, gay, or bi, I want to walk through the Scriptures with you,” Haggard said at the press conference that launched the new church.
“If you are black, white, Hispanic, Native American, or a confusing combination, you are welcome here. If you have a friend or family member who struggles, St. James is for you. Adulterers, ex-cons, everyone is welcome.”
With the restriction on gays in leadership, Joe and Jan Narracci were left a little disappointed. “This church is making qualifications that I don’t think Jesus made,” said Joe Narracci, who with his wife counsels gay and lesbian Christians who struggle to reconcile their faith with their sexual orientation.
Ted Haggard’s publicist said today that the ousted founder of New Life Church will announce plans for his future at a press conference at his Colorado Springs home Wednesday morning.
Haggard’s spokesman said he would make a “surprising” and “groundbreaking” announcement with his family.
Ted Haggard and his wife Gayle on April 29 incorporated a new church, St. James, sited at their home at 1865 Old Ranch Road.
At the time, Ted Haggard said it was done for accounting purposes as the couple managed dual speaking careers. However, Haggard did tell the Colorado Springs Gazette that he likely would return to ministry one day and wouldn’t rule out that St. James would one day be a real church.
On a personal note… I really wish Ted didn’t have a publicist or any kind of groundbreaking or surprising announcements.Â A ground breaking announcement could be that is starting an ‘official’ new church.Â A surprising announcement could be that it would be an affirming church.Â I have no idea what the announcement will be; but my cynical side tells me that it will probably be neither groundbreaking nor surprising.
It all starts November 12 at the Haggard residence, just blocks away from New Life Church.
Haggard:Â “We wanted to do something in our house to connect with friends.”
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette:
Haggard will hold his first gathering at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at his house at 1865 Old Ranch Road. He referred to it as a “prayer meeting,” but said it would also be correct to call it a church.Â TheÂ gathering will include music and an offering to New Life Church. Haggard also will give a talk about the power of prayer.
Although Haggard said just recently he had no plans to start a church, he changed his mind two weeks ago after talking to a friend in Florida who was involved in prayer meetings.
Haggard anticipates that 10 to 20 people will show up, and saidÂ he has noÂ expectations of building his new enterprise into something on the scale of New Life.
â€œFor this prayer meeting, I have no goals,” he said. “I have no secret hope that more people will come. I am not driven as I was. Before I focused on the Great Commission. Now I focus on helping other people.â€
Makes me want to buy a plane ticket.Â Not.