Megachurch Lay Off Staff Due To Low Income

The megachurch founded by the Reverend Ted Haggard, who was fired over drug and sex allegations, has laid off 44 people amid falling income following the scandal.

The cuts, announced during services in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Sunday, amount to about 12% of the church's work force, associate pastor Rob Brendle said.

Brendle estimated that church income has fallen 10% since the scandal broke last fall, forcing layoffs including pastoral staff, support staff, and nursery workers.

''The reality is, we ask our people to be faithful stewards of their money and living within their means. We have to do the same,'' Brendle said.

Ross Parsley, the church's interim senior pastor, said some positions will be consolidated and that volunteers could replace some paid staff. The 14,000-member church had experienced 22 years of attendance and financial growth, Brendle said.

Haggard was fired in November after a male escort alleged that Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence and paid him for sex. Haggard has acknowledged ''sexual immorality.'' He also stepped down as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

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