Relaymedia

Megachurch Pastor Confesses to Gay Encounters

The founding pastor of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel has resigned after he said he had sexual relations with other men.
( [email protected] ) Dec 11, 2006 04:01 PM EST

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - The founding pastor of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel has resigned after he said he had sexual relations with other men.

Paul Barnes, who led the church for 28 years, told his congregation Sunday in a videotaped message that church leaders allowed The Denver Post to view.

He and his wife have two adult daughters.

"While we cannot condone what he has done, we continue to support and love Paul," associate pastor Dave Palmer said in a written statement.

Palmer told The Denver Post that the church got an anonymous call last week from a person who overheard a conversation in which someone mentioned "blowing the whistle" on evangelical preachers engaged in homosexuality, including Barnes.

Palmer told the newspaper he met with Barnes, who confessed. A board of elders held an emergency meeting Thursday and accepted Barnes' resignation.

"I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy," Barnes, 54, said in the videotaped message. "... I can't tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away."

He described struggling with what he believes is the biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination.

Last month Ted Haggard, who founded the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, was removed as head of the church after a Denver man alleged Haggard paid him for sex. Haggard confessed to sexually immoral conduct.

Haggard also resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, where he condemned homosexuality.

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