Old home, new church and eternity on the Internet for Ted Haggard

By Bill Husted | The Denver Post

Ted Haggard, 54, is the most scrutinized evangelical pastor in Colorado, probably the nation. Born in Indiana, he found Christ at 16, and soon caught on as an associate pastor in Baton Rouge, La. He moved to Colorado Springs in 1984 and founded New Life Church with just 22 people. It grew to 14,000, and he became president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

His fall came in late 2006, when a male prostitute claimed Haggard had paid him for sex and drugs. Within days Haggard resigned and fled to Arizona with his wife and five children. In June 2008, the Haggards quietly returned to Colorado Springs. This past spring, Haggard opened St. James Church in a barn on his property.

The West Lobby Bar, overlooking the lake, is about the only thing small about the Broadmoor, in Colorado Springs. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

The church quickly outgrew the barn and recently drew 350 people to a meeting room in Pikes Peak Center. An Old Testament rainstorm is falling when Haggard arrives at the Broadmoor in jeans and a polo shirt. He orders a Coke with a lime.

BH: So what’s the headline? Ted Haggard is back?

Haggard: I suppose that is up to others.

BH: How has the return to Colorado Springs been for you?

Haggard: Wonderful. The first year we were here, I never had to pay for a meal of my own in a restaurant. Another patron or the manager or the wait staff would welcome me home. They couldn’t have been more gracious.

BH: Do people point at you in restaurants or coffee shops? Do they whisper, “That’s Ted Haggard”?

Haggard: Never in a negative way. Actually, people treat

Read more: Denver Post

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