Pastor of Grace Chapel steps down after confessing to congregat
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. The founding pastor of a second Colorado church has resigned over gay sex allegations, just weeks after the evangelical community was shaken by a scandal surrounding megachurch leader Ted Haggard.
Paul Barnes, 54, founding pastor of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel in Englewood, a Denver suburb, tearfully told his evangelical congregation in a videotaped message on Dec. 10 that he had had sexual relations with men and was stepping down.
Dave Palmer, associate pastor of Grace Chapel, told The Denver Post that Barnes confessed to him after the church received a call last week.
On the video, which The Post was allowed to view, Barnes told church members: “I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy. … I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.”
His wife, Char, said on the video that she did not know about her husband’s struggles until he told her last week, according to The Post. The couple has two daughters in their 20s, the paper reported.
Palmer said in a statement that “While we cannot condone what he has done, we continue to support and love Paul.”
Last month, Haggard, a gay-marriage opponent, acknowledged engaging in unspecified “sexual immorality” when he resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Unlike Haggard, Barnes is not a household name. The self-described introvert started his non-denominational church 28 years ago in his basement.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 15, 2006
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