In the next few weeks, you may hear and read a great deal of media reports concerning an upcoming HBO documentary featuring Ted and Gayle Haggard. The documentary chronicles their life in Arizona and their return to Colorado Springs. In the documentary, Ted and Gayle express their hurt and disappointment in the way they were treated by New Life.
In the past month, I have had two lengthy meetings with both Ted and Gayle hoping to bring some healing and perspective to the hurt they experienced and the hurt that New Life experienced. I believe we have made progress and I am hopeful the relationships that were so badly damaged can be redeemed and restored.
I was not here in November 2006, but I do know the men and women who were called upon to make very critical decisions for Ted and Gayle and for New Life after the scandal. While it is easy now for some people to look in the rear view mirror and see decisions that could have been made differently, very few of us understand the enormous pressure these wonderful people were facing. I know for certain that the motives behind every decision were pure and the decisions were made after much prayer.
Desiring only to be gracious and generous, the overseers, trustees, elders and pastoral team of New Life committed over $300,000 to the Haggard family that included 13 months of salary for Ted and Gayle, a pickup truck, extensive counseling, health insurance for the entire family, moving expenses, and care for Jonathan Haggard, their special needs son.
Not only were they generous with finances, they placed Ted under the care of some of the most trusted pastors of our generation for restoration.
The generosity and concern for the Haggard family and the New Life family is to be commended and I am very grateful that God established these leaders for such a critical time in our church’s history.
I also believe New Life is one of the most forgiving congregations I have ever met. Our recent history is one of tragedy, but also of tremendous forgiveness and grace. You have always chosen love over hate and forgiveness over bitterness. This is one of the many reasons I am proud of you and love you so dearly.
I hope this helps you with perspective should you choose to watch the HBO documentary. Please continue to pray for Ted and Gayle and their family and for the leaders of New Life.