Is Ted's Fundraising Letter for Real?

Apparently, it is for real. Ted Haggard, former Colorado Springs mega New Life Church pastor with 14,000 members and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, featured in the dvd rental documentary Jesus Camp, and in The Root of All Evil, is in the news again. Haggard sent out a questionable fund raising email letter asking for money to provide two years of financial support so that he and his wife Gayle can loaf around studying psychology and counseling at the University of Phoenix. Can't Haggard take out a generous student loan to help support "the work" until the crisis is over?

As some background to the email fundraising letter, you may recall Ted made a public apology after a sex scandal forced him to resign from the church and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). The WCG joined the NAE in 1977; Tkach Jr. is a board member of the NAE. (Haggard got caught having a sexual relationship with, and buying methamphetamines from, a male prostitute.)

Ted Haggard's New Life Church board released a prepared statement in November 2006 that stated: "Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct." The board cited the bylaws of the megachurch and said his conduct compelled them to remove him from his job.

Pastor Haggard's former congregation has since felt the impact of the scandal. Since Ted's downfall and firing, attendance has fallen 20 percent and giving has dropped 10 percent. As a result of the decline, the church laid off 44 employees, or 12 percent of its work force.

Brady Boyd preached his third and final sermon Sunday as he auditioned to become Ted Haggard's replacement. Then more than 95% of members of New Life Church in Colorado Springs voted in a secret ballot Monday to select Boyd as the new Pastor. Brady Boyd was formerly the associate senior Pastor at mega Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. He was the only final candidate asked to try out for senior pastor.

Congregants showed an appreciation for his openness and honesty. Associate pastor Brendle said the staff likes Boyd's authenticity.

(What a pity the WCG, twenty one years after the reign of the Armstrongs, has yet to produce just one set of reformed WCG Church Association bylaws, outlining due process procedures which would justify on moral or contractual grounds the removal, selection process, and replacement of a lifetime employee Pastor.)

In the meantime, ABC affiliate KRDO in Colorado received a fundraising email from former Pastor Ted Haggard which has "raised questions about the non-profit chosen to receive his donations. The letter asks for financial support while Ted and his wife go back to school in Arizona. He suggests those wanting to donate, but need a tax write-off, should send it to Families with a Mission and lists a P.O. Box in Colorado Springs. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, Families with a Mission moved from Hawaii to Colorado in 2003, but then was dissolved for being delinquent in 2007." However, records in Hawaii do indicate the Families non-profit is in current standing in the state of Hawaii.

Ted Haggard reached an agreement with his New Life Church on a severance package which will pay him through 2007. His last reported income was $138,000, not including benefits. Haggard received a salary of $115,000 for the 10 months he worked in 2006 and an $85,000 anniversary bonus before the scandal broke, The Gazette reported. Haggard's severance package included a year's salary of $138,000, and he collects royalties on his book titles.

Records show Haggard's home, which has been up for sale, has a market value of $715,051.

According to his fundraising email, contributors to the cause can mail their checks directly to Haggard at his Scottsdale Ariz., address. But if supporters wish to make their Haggard donation tax deductible, they should make out their checks to Families With a Mission. Ted claims the Families charity will forward 90% of your money to him in Arizona and 10% will go to charitable administrative costs.

Poor Ted.

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