Friday, November 23, 2007

Heitzig Returning to Calvary

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

July 2, 2006 Sunday

Heitzig Returning to Calvary



LENGTH: 504 words

After months of controversy and operating under the reins of interim leadership, Calvary Chapel Albuquerque returned to its roots Saturday.

Skip Heitzig, who founded the Albuquerque megachurch, was named as senior pastor during Saturday's evening service at the church, 4001 Osuna NE.

The announcement was made by Interim Senior Pastor Dave Row, who has led the church since March.

"We have come to this decision as a pastoral staff after much prayer and careful counsel," Row said to the congregation.

After the announcement, a majority of the congregation stood and applauded. "I expected this," said Jackie Sherwood, a church member for about 12 years. "I have no hard feelings about the decision."

Heitzig was not present for the announcement, but a letter from their new leader was read to the congregation, saying he welcomed the invitation to once again serve the church.

The announcement of Heitzig's return was to be repeated at the church's three services today - 8, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Heitzig, who left in 2004 to lead Ocean Hills Community Church in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was involved in a power struggle with Calvary's former senior pastor, Pete Nelson.

Nelson was Heitzig's handpicked successor, but their relationship soured. In his resignation letter in February, Nelson cited a power struggle with Heitzig regarding appointments to the church's board of directors and financial decisions.

Heitzig resigned from the church board in March after a group of church members asked him and other out-ofstate board members to resign.

The group also sought more transparency in financial and personnel dealings. Since then, the church's board of directors initiated three audits - all conducted by outside entities - addressing financial, organizational and pastoral issues.

According to Tom Garrity, a Calvary spokesman, the audits had provided the group with an "all-clear move forward in selecting a permanent senior pastor."

Speculation about Heitzig's return as Calvary's senior pastor - a post he held since founding Calvary Albuquerque in the mid-1980s until early 2004 - had been circulating on Internet Web logs and among church insiders since his resignation from the board in March.

Last week, Heitzig also fueled speculation of his return when he apologized during a Calvary service for his role in the power struggle.

Philip Brent, an Albuquerque middle school teacher who has attended Calvary for about 18 years, said he had his fingers crossed that Heitzig would return.

"He's probably one of the best Bible teachers in America," Brent said. "And it concerns me that in the past, he's been portrayed as a money grubber. Truth is, the church never even asks for offerings - it only has donation boxes in the back.

"Calvary is such a big church, and I'm not surprised if there's mixed feelings or animosity about who the new pastor is by some," said Brent, who added he believes both Heitzig and his church received unfair press coverage in the past. "For the most part, though, I believe people want Heitzig back."

LOAD-DATE: July 3, 2006


GRAPHIC: SHERWOOD: Church member for 12 years not surprised

GREG SORBER/JOURNAL A majority of Calvary Chapel Albuquerque members stood and clapped when it was announced Saturday that Skip Heitzig will return as senior pastor. Heitzig founded Calvary Albuquerque in the 1980s.

HEITZIG: Church founder is named senior pastor


Copyright 2006 Albuquerque Journal

Is Heitzig Back? Calvary's Future Revealed Tonight; Church set to announce identity of new permanent senior pastor

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

July 1, 2006 Saturday

Is Heitzig Back? Calvary's Future Revealed Tonight; Church set to announce identity of new permanent senior pastor



LENGTH: 294 words

Rumors about whether former Calvary Chapel Albuquerque founder Skip Heitzig will return as the church's senior pastor will either be quashed or validated tonight.

Calvary of Albuquerque's Interim Senior Pastor Dave Row will announce who the group's new permanent senior pastor will be during a 6:30 p.m. service at the chapel, 4001 Osuna NE.

The major announcement will be repeated for the church congregation at three services Sunday - 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Speculation about Heitzig's return as Calvary's senior pastor - a post he held since founding the group in the mid-1980s until early 2004 - has circulated on Internet Web logs and among church insiders since his resignation from the church board in March.

Last week, Heitzig apologized to Calvary's congregation for his role in a highly publicized struggle for control of the megachurch that eventually led to his resignation from the board of directors.

A Denver pastor recently contended Heitzig had "buyer's remorse" after moving to California and became reluctant to turn over the reins at Calvary to his hand-picked successor, Pete Nelson.

That triggered a power struggle that led to the surprise resignation of Nelson on Feb. 19, according to the report by Pastor Tom Stipe of Crossroads Church in Denver.

The power struggle between Heitzig and Nelson became public when the Journal obtained a copy of Nelson's resignation letter that outlined a list of grievances against the Calvary founder and the board.

The controversy came to a head in March when a group of church members asked that Heitzig and other out-of-state board members resign. The group also sought more transparency in financial and personnel dealings.

The church has been operating under interim leadership since Nelson's departure.

LOAD-DATE: July 3, 2006


GRAPHIC: JOURNAL FILE Last week, Skip Heitzig was a guest speaker at Calvary Chapel Albuquerque.


Copyright 2006 Albuquerque Journal

Report Examines Calvary Dispute; Heitzig Calls Claims Inaccurate

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

June 27, 2006 Tuesday

Report Examines Calvary Dispute; Heitzig Calls Claims Inaccurate

BYLINE: Copyright © 2006 Albuquerque Journal BY JEFF PROCTOR Journal Staff Writer


LENGTH: 1018 words

A Denver pastor contends Calvary Chapel Albuquerque founder Skip Heitzig had "buyer's remorse" after moving to California and became reluctant to turn over the reins at Calvary to his hand-picked successor.

That triggered a power struggle that led to the surprise resignation of Pastor Pete Nelson on Feb. 19, according to a report by Pastor Tom Stipe of Crossroads Church in Denver.

Stipe also writes that Heitzig had financial motives and that he and other board members tried to "recast" the circumstances under which Heitzig left Calvary for Ocean Hills Community Church in San Juan Capistrano.

Heitzig shot back Monday, saying Stipe got only one side of the story, mischaracterized Heitzig's motivations and should not have released the report.

Stipe could not be reached for comment Monday.

Heitzig addressed widespread speculation that he would return as senior pastor of Calvary - which he founded in the mid-1980s and served in the top spot until early 2004.

"I know the rumor has been swirling around, but I have never been given an invitation," Heitzig said in a telephone interview with the Journal from California.

"I love (Calvary;) I love Albuquerque and the people of Albuquerque. I want the best for it, and I'm glad to be part of the church.

"If (Calvary's board of directors) invites me to return permanently, that's something I will have to prayerfully consider with my wife and with the people I love and who hold me accountable."

A power struggle

When he left Calvary, Heitzig recruited Nelson from Crossroads in Denver, where Nelson had served as associate pastor under Stipe for three years.

Heitzig remained as chairman of the Calvary board of directors - a post Stipe's report says he planned to keep for a year. But the report notes that Heitzig was later appointed a " 'perpetual' board member and chairman of the board."

After presiding over growth in attendance and tithes for two years at Calvary, Nelson stunned the congregation with his resignation. Neither he nor other Calvary leaders would say why he was leaving.

But a power struggle became evident when a copy of Nelson's resignation letter emerged. It outlined a list of grievances by Nelson against Heitzig and the board.

In March, the controversy bubbled over when a group of congregants asked Heitzig and other out-of-state board members to resign. The group also sought more transparency in financial and personnel dealings.

Since then, Heitzig and two other out-of-state directors - Paul Saber and Raul Ries - have stepped down. Gino Geraci, who also lives out of state, remains on the board.

According to Stipe's report, after Heitzig's departure as senior pastor, he and the board attempted to recharacterize Heitzig's departure from " 'leaving' to 'having been sent out as a missionary.' ''

And, according to the report, Heitzig and the out-of-state board members relegated Nelson's role in the church to "custodial pastor" and stymied his efforts to choose his own directors.

Heitzig has denied interfering with Nelson's duties as senior pastor. And on Monday, he said that "my hope is still that I can meet with Pete. I love him deeply and consider him a brother."

Stipe contends Heitzig wanted to remain in control of Calvary for financial reasons and "buyers remorse."

"Things (at Ocean Hills) clearly had not gone as Skip had hoped," Stipe wrote. "The continued success of (Calvary) when compared to the issues at Ocean Hills must have given rise to Skip questioning his decision to leave.

"It was about the finances. Without financial support from (Calvary) Skip's national radio ministry, 'The Connection,' could not continue in its present form. There is also evidence that the operation of Ocean Hills is at least partially dependent upon contributions from (Calvary.)"

Heitzig denied that Ocean Hills is in trouble.

"The church is healthy financially and in its operations," he said. "In fact, it has more than tripled in size."

Heitzig said that, to the best of his knowledge, The Connection has been "breaking even - paying for itself." Calvary financial statements, show that The Connection lost $378,349 in 2005, and $600,810 in 2004.


of tithes

Stipe's report also says there is an "underground move by many former (Calvary) members to demand a reimbursement of their past tithes and offerings."

Heitzig said he's heard of no such thing.

"I've spoken to thousands of people when I was in Albuquerque, and I didn't hear anything like that at all," he said. "I wouldn't call that an underground movement; I'd call it two people."

During two recent trips to Albuquerque, Heitzig conducted three services at Calvary. On Saturday, he apologized to the congregation, saying: "If my leadership style has hurt any of you or pained any of you, I deeply apologize."

Heitzig said Stipe's report was one of three done by pastors affiliated with Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship (CCOF), which, among other duties, "provides materials that will define the Calvary Chapel philosophy to individual fellowships."

Stipe's report was based largely on board minutes but also included information from Calvary sermons, financial statements and letters written by former board members, Heitzig and Nelson.

The other two were done by pastors from Las Vegas, Nev., Heitzig said.

Those reports were not made available to the Journal, but an overview of the three reports by CCOF leader Paul Smith, was.

"We find no evidence of sin or wrongdoing on the part of the board of directors, Skip Heitzig or Pete Nelson which would preclude you continuing friendship and fellowship with CCOF," the letter states.

Heitzig said the two Las Vegas pastors interviewed him and other "key players." He said Stipe never attempted to contact him.

He said all three reports were to be given to Smith - not made public.

The Stipe report was posted on a Web log,

"This is church business, and the board is trying to do things with due process and with an open hand," Heitzig said. "It's just discouraging that this has to be dragged through the public arena again. I think the good people of Calvary Albuquerque are tired of it being in the media."

LOAD-DATE: June 27, 2006



Copyright 2006 Albuquerque Journal

Heitzig Says He's Sorry; Controversial pastor apologizes if leadership style hurt anyone

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

June 25, 2006 Sunday

Heitzig Says He's Sorry; Controversial pastor apologizes if leadership style hurt anyone

BYLINE: JEFF PROCTOR Journal Staff Writer


LENGTH: 629 words

Calvary Chapel Albuquerque founder Skip Heitzig on Saturday apologized to the congregation for his role in a highly publicized struggle for control of the megachurch that eventually led to his resignation from its board of directors.

"If my leadership style has hurt any of you or pained any of you, I apologize deeply," Heitzig said from the Calvary pulpit, from where he was giving an evening sermon as a guest speaker. "This has never been Skip's church. This has always been and will remain the Lord's church."

A man in the congregation stood up and shouted, "Thanks for apologizing, Skip," after Heitzig's remarks.

Meanwhile, speculation on Internet Web logs and with church insiders has swirled since Heitzig's resignation in March that he may return as senior pastor - a post he held since founding Calvary in the mid-1980s until early 2004.

"Skip is a candidate by virtue of the fact that he is the founding pastor," Chip Lusko, a Calvary pastor and spokesman said Saturday evening. "But that is a board decision and not for me to comment on."

None of the board members was available for comment Saturday; neither was Heitzig.

However, with the completion of three audits that looked at Calvary's finances and organizational methods, the board "will proceed with its search for a senior pastor," Lusko said.

"There will be a church meeting (tonight) and we will present the audits to the church body. And from there, we will move forward."

Dave Row has served as interim senior pastor since March 22. The appointment was to last 60 days.

Pete Nelson, Heitzig's handpicked successor, stunned the congregation by resigning Feb. 19. Neither he nor other Calvary leaders would say why he was leaving.

But a power struggle became public when the Journal obtained a copy of Nelson's resignation letter that outlined a list of grievances against Heitzig and the board.

The controversy came to a head in March when a group of church members asked that Heitzig and other out-of-state board members resign. The group also sought more transparency in financial and personnel dealings.

Since then, Heitzig and two other out-of-state directors - Paul Saber and Raul Ries - have stepped down. Gino Geraci, who also lives out of state, remains on the board.

Heitzig has appeared as a guest speaker at least twice since his resignation in March, Lusko said. Heitzig conducted a communion service June 14 and will take the pulpit this morning for two services.

"One of the reasons I came (Wednesday) and tonight was because many of you have said, 'You have been silent the last few months. Where have you been?' '' Heitzig said to the congregation. "I do trust the local leadership here ... the pastoral staff ... the board.

"I resigned from the board of directors here to give them a chance to go through a process. I wanted to step out of the scene because of the media flurry you were getting hammered with."

After Heitzig's sermon, which focused on the Bible verse John 3:16, church members had mixed reactions about his return.

"I was very glad to see him here tonight," said Mark Mesilla, 45, of Placitas, who has attended Calvary since 1999. "In fact, I have been hoping and praying and checking the (church) Web site to see if he was listed as a guest speaker.

"I really hope this is a sign of things to come. Yes, I do hope he returns on a permanent basis."

Marleen Gutierrez, 66, of Albuquerque, had a different take.

"I didn't know (Heitzig) was going to be here tonight, and, frankly, I wouldn't have come had I known," she said. "I don't like the way he treated Pete or his secrecy. That is not at the heart of what this place is supposed to be about.

"I have come here and tithed faithfully since 1996, and that certainly will not continue should Skip Heitzig be back here as senior pastor."

LOAD-DATE: June 25, 2006


GRAPHIC: GREG SORBER/JOURNAL On Saturday night, Skip Heitzig returned to Calvary Chapel Albuquerque as a guest speaker. Heitzig will also be a guest speaker for today's services.


Copyright 2006 Albuquerque Journal

Calvary Holds Off On Naming Pastor

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

May 18, 2006 Thursday


BYLINE: Journal Staff Reports


LENGTH: 678 words

Calvary Holds Off On Naming Pastor

Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque is holding off on naming a new senior pastor as the megachurch is audited, according to a news release.

This week the church board extended the interim terms for Senior Pastor David Row and Administrative Pastor Dale Coffing, the news release states.

The church board is undergoing a pastoral audit and once it is completed, the board will determine a process to select a new senior pastor, the release states. The board is also reviewing organizational and financial audits.

Pete Nelson resigned as senior pastor earlier this year, citing a power struggle with church founder Skip Heitzig.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Calvary Chapel hires public relations man

Calvary Chapel hires public relations man

By Susie Gran
Tribune Reporter

March 18, 2006

New Mexico's largest megachurch, Calvary Chapel, has retained Tom Garrity, an Albuquerque public relations man who specializes in crisis communications.

Calvary Chapel has been in turmoil since the February resignation of Senior Pastor Pete Nelson and the March 10 announcement by its founder, Skip Heitzig, that he was stepping down as Calvary board chairman.

Garrity picks up the 14,000-member church as a client in time to manage whatever news emerges from Tuesday's board meeting, when Heitzig's resignation letter will be discussed.

"The board has to act on the letter," Garrity said.

Meanwhile, a group of church members who submitted a petition with 1,805 names seeking Nelson's return as senior pastor called a meeting Thursday to pray for guidance and discuss their demands. They want the Calvary board to respond to the petition and to their request that local members be appointed to the board.

Last week, the Calvary pastoral staff contacted Garrity and retained his services Saturday to handle communications with the congregation and the community, Garrity said.

"It's not really unusual to have PR (public relations) firms," he said of megachurches.

But typically, "they have somebody in-house" who handles public relations.

Calvary Assistant Pastor Chip Lusko has been handling media relations. The staff especially wanted Garrity's help during the Easter season, he said.

On Thursday, the church posted a collection of documents at, including statements by Heitzig about the conflict, Heitzig's answers to a host of questions and letters between Heitzig and Nelson dating back to 2004.

It's not the first time Garrity has managed public relations for a church. He worked for Calvary Chapel about six years ago. Hoffmantown Church, another megachurch, also was one of his clients.

The 42-year-old Garrity, who served as one of four superintendents for Albuquerque Public Schools in 2003, is a member of Hoffmantown West, Hoffmantown's sister church on the West Side.

Garrity also worked for Furr's during the supermarket's bankruptcy proceedings and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. His client list includes the New Mexico Senate Democrats.

Calvary's turmoil is not so rare

Calvary's turmoil is not so rare

Megachurches' power changes are often painful, expert says

By Susie Gran
Tribune Reporter

March 9, 2006

When the founder of Legacy Church in Albuquerque left his flock after more than two decades, his successor did not look back for approval or guidance.

Without controversy over new leadership, Legacy grew into the second largest megachurch in New Mexico with 9,000 members.


More than 4 million people across the country attend megachurches like Albuquerque's Calvary Chapel.

New Mexico has three megachurches, defined by researcher Scott Thumma of the Hartford Institute for Religious Research as a non-Catholic congregation of about 2,000 or more worshippers each week.

Albuquerque and Rio Rancho have two Catholic parishes exceeding 2,000 members.

The megachurches are:

Calvary Chapel, 4001 Osuna Road N.E., 14,000 worshippers

Legacy Church, 7201 Central Ave. N.W., 5,000 worshippers

Hoffmantown Church, 8888 Harper Road N.E., 3,000 worshippers

Sources: Scott Thumma, Hartford Institute for Religion Research,; The Rev. Richard Olona, Church of the Risen Savior, 7701 Wyoming N.E.

That doesn't always happen when a megachurch founder moves on, Legacy Senior Pastor Stever Smothermon said.

"We're probably the exception to the rule," Smothermon said.

New Mexico's largest megachurch, Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque, is in the midst of a difficult, and public, transition.

On Wednesday, church members learned founder Skip Heitzig was stepping down as chairman of Calvary's board following more than two weeks of turmoil.

Heitzig had handpicked senior Pastor Pete Nelson to succeed him when Heitzig left for a California church in 2004.

Heitzig continued to serve as chairman of the Calvary board and conduct his radio ministry.

On Feb. 19, Nelson resigned, saying in a letter to the board that Heitzig wasn't allowing him to run the church.

Nearly 1,600 church members have signed an online petition asking for Nelson to return and for local elders to be seated as Calvary directors.

Church members and former board members had called for the resignations of Heitzig and Calvary's out-of-state directors.

Some church members have also requested information on finances and personnel decisions.

Former Calvary board member Greg Zanetti said any church, large or small, can have difficulties with pastors or boards that have too much power.

"Our problems are not unique to Calvary. We're all human beings," Zanetti said.

It took Nelson's resignation to get the problems resolved, Zanetti said.

"Good men and women are going to do the right thing," he said.

This is a typical reaction in disputes over leadership, said Scott Thumma of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, an offshoot of Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Thumma conducted studies of megachurches in 2000 and 2005.

Lack of accountability in the leadership of a megachurch is a frequent claim made by former members and external critics, he found.

Some new senior pastors find it difficult to run the church when the founder refuses to relinquish control, Thumma said in his study.

"Given the pivotal role played by megachurch pastors, it is hard to imagine their churches functioning without them. Indeed, this is a concern for many such congregations: how to create ministerial continuity and a congregational identity apart from the senior minister."

In an interview with The Tribune, Thumma said between 25 percent and 30 percent of the megachurches have changed pastors after reaching megasize.

"The idea that these are going to collapse when the founder leaves is not necessarily true," he said.

For Smothermon, the transition at Legacy Church was much different than Calvary's.

When he arrived, Smothermon said he formed two boards - elders and trustees - to help him govern the church.

From the beginning, he had support to grow the church on his own terms after the founder left.

Smothermon has doubled the size of the congregation, formerly Victory Love Fellowship, and is determined to make room for more.

He counts 9,000 members, with about 5,000 of them attending weekly services at Legacy on Central Avenue Northwest.

Smothermon said he is familiar with the research on megachurches that has documented both smooth and rocky transitions.

"Other churches have transitioned wonderfully," he said. "I know they do, but some do not."

He said he hasn't followed Calvary's controversy closely, but he said he believes churches should handle such disputes privately.

"The church should never air its dirty laundry," he said. "When leadership fails, the people suffer. Our heart goes out to the people" at Calvary.

Calvary Assistant Pastor Chip Lusko agrees Calvary's problems should not have gone public.

"On one hand, I feel concerned for the people of Albuquerque who have watched this publicly unfold. On the other hand, I am expectant God is going to work this out and good things will come of it," Lusko said.

He said the lessons learned should improve relationships and lead to reconciliation.

"Each of us can look and see relationships that get out of sorts. When those become public, it's painful."

Lusko likened the founder of a megachurch to an entrepreneur in the business world. Both leave their fingerprints on their product.

In Calvary's case, there was no business plan from the start to follow as it grew into a megachurch, Lusko said.

"We didn't set out to become a big business," he said. "It grew so very naturally, it seemed like a very smooth change from small to large."

Around Albuquerque, church leaders and churchgoers are joined in prayer for the Calvary membership and the future of their church.

"I'm personally praying for that community," said The Rev. Richard Olona of the Church of the Risen Savior, one of the largest Catholic parishes in the metro area.

"It's a lot different in the Catholic church," he said of leadership changes.

"We are appointed by the archbishop and the local parishioners accept that."

March 4 Announcement

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 4 Announcement

Journal Staff Report

The Board of Directors of Calvary of Albuquerque has announced the addition of a new member. Michael Rosenblum was voted in unanimously at the Thursday, March 2, 2006 meeting. Rosenblum, an Albuquerque resident, joins John Fidel, Paul Scozzafava, Gino Geraci, Paul Saber, Skip Heitzig and Paul Ries on the church board.

After that meeting the board and the Pastoral staff was presented with an ultimatum by (a) small group that demanded the resignations of three board members. The questions raised in this presentation will be addressed in writing because of the many false accusations and missstatements contained within their statement.

Additionally, the leadership of Calvary observed that demands of this nature are not in keeping with the biblical steps of resolving conflict, because they include a process and not an ultimatum.

Heitzig, founding pastor of the church, also responded to recent stories by saying he will conduct an in-depth interview with the Albuquerque Journal on Monday, March 6th and that a written response will also be issued on Monday.

In addition, Heitzig said that a church meeting will be announced soon to give opportunity for discussion with the Calvary congregation in a question and answer setting.

Heitzig did respond to a story in the March 3rd edition of the Journal concerning the site of a Calvary Board of Directors meeting and his financial compensation upon leaving Albuquerque. "The hotel for the meeting was chosen by Samaritan's Purse because of death threats to Franklin Graham. I agreed to the location because of my concern for him, and to cooperate with that request for a secure location," said Heitzig.

Concerning his financial gift given by the Board of Directors, Heitzig said, "I was not in the room when this was discussed, it was a decision that the Board voted on unanimously according to the minutes."

Heitzig said all financial statements of Calvary have been subject to an annual, outside audit for the past ten years and that a public report is being prepared.

"We have always had a policy of meeting with those who are part of our church and for discussing these audited financials. I also would like to see any conflicts that exist be resolved according to biblical principles and not in a way that would be divisive to the church."

The Pastoral staff of Calvary has issued a call to prayer for the members of Calvary so a spiritual climate will exist for dealing with conflicts in grace, unity and in a way that is consistent with biblical teachings.

Interim Pastor to Take Reins at Calvary

Thursday, March 23, 2006

By Jeff Proctor

Journal Staff Writer

Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque wants to use the next 60 days to "stabilize" itself in the wake of a recent power struggle and the resignations of several key church leaders.

The church's board of directors took the first step Tuesday by naming Dave Row as interim senior pastor.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," Row said in an interview Wednesday.

Row takes the reins from Pete Nelson, who abruptly resigned Feb. 19. In his resignation, Nelson cited a power struggle over Calvary with church founder and longtime senior pastor Skip Heitzig, who has resigned from the church board.

Row will serve 60 days. He will assume all the duties his two predecessors took on at the 14,000-member church: taking over as president of the Calvary corporation, managing the church's staff and handling the sermons on Wednesday evenings and on Sunday mornings, as well.

John Ackerman, who has led a group calling for the resignation of all out-of-state board members, was disappointed with Tuesday's appointment.

"We believe the appointment of a senior pastor by the current board members is inappropriate," said Ackerman, former president of Public Service Company of New Mexico and a UNM professor. "This appointment should be made by a restructured local board. This is not a comment about David Row. But for that board to name someone really handicaps whoever takes that position."

Heitzig left Albuquerque in early 2004 to lead Ocean Hills Community Church in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., but remained as chairman of the megachurch's board. He announced his resignation as chairman March 8. Board members officially accepted his resignation Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Tom Garrity, a church spokesman, all but ruled out the possibility Heitzig could return to Calvary as senior pastor in 60 days.

"Skip's focus right now is on the Ocean Hills community," he said.

Also on Tuesday, California-based board member Raul Ries resigned. However, Paul Saber, of California, and Gino Geraci, of Colorado, remain on the board.

Garrity said he's not aware of any additional resignations by board members.

"Out-of-state board members provide a unique perspective and objectivity you might not otherwise get," he said. "There is some value in that."

Also during the next 60 days, financial and organizational audits will be conducted. National accounting firm Moss Adams, LLP., will audit Calvary's books. Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships of Costa Mesa, Calif., will do the organizational audit, Garrity said.

Row, whose father and grandfather were pastors, joined the staff at Calvary in 1998. He oversaw the church's School of Ministries, which trains students for service in church ministries, until late 2004. He then took on the position of overseeing the pastoral staff. Dale Coffing will replace Row.

Row met Heitzig in 1987, when he was a congregant at Calvary, and the two have remained friends.

Row said he doesn't feel like he's filling a hot seat.

"I base that on the stability of this fellowship," he said. "There are a lot of great people here.

Board Accepts Heitzig Resignation

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

By Jeff Proctor

Journal Staff Writer

The Calvary Chapel board of directors on Tuesday accepted the resignations of founder Skip Heitzig and Californiabased board member Raul Ries.

The board selected an interim senior pastor - to replace Pete Nelson, who resigned Feb. 19 - but did not say who it was.

"They were very adamant to make sure that the staff and congregation heard it first from them, rather than reading it in the newspaper," said Tom Garrity, who has been hired by Calvary to handle media requests.

Heitzig announced March 8 that he was stepping down from the board in an attempt to "defuse" escalating tension within the church.

Heitzig, who served as chairman for 22 years, has continued to leave open the possibility he might return to Calvary in some capacity later.

He also said, in a telephone interview from California this month, that he was "still involved" with the 14,000-member church.

John Ackerman, who was part of a group of churchgoers who asked for Heitzig and other out-of-state board member to resign, said Tuesday's actions were the first step in a transition.

"Calvary Chapel Albuquerque cannot move forward towards ultimate healing until the other out-of-state directors also resign," he said. "I would say we're disappointed because the resignations of all of the out-of-state directors did not occur at this meeting. Let's see what they come up with tomorrow."

Heitzig left Albuquerque in early 2004 to lead Ocean Hills Community Church in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., but he remained chairman of Calvary's board of directors.

In a statement released Tuesday, Heitzig said: "I have respectfully resigned from the board of Calvary Albuquerque after serving for 25 years and I want you to be aware of and understand the factors that led to my resignation. Some have mistakenly thought that doing so was an admission of wrongdoing. Such is not the case. Rather, I wanted to make a strong statement on one hand and on the other hand to give the church a hiatus from the media frenzy that has placed it in the spotlight before the unbelieving world."

Nelson, Heitzig's handpicked successor as senior pastor, resigned abruptly, and neither he nor Calvary have explained why he left.

A struggle for control came into public focus when the Journal obtained a copy of Nelson's resignation letter that outlined a list of grievances against Heitzig and the board. Nelson wrote that Heitzig did not allow him to appoint his own board members or to exercise autonomy as senior pastor.

The controversy came to a head the first week of March when Ackerman's group demanded that Heitzig and the other out-of-state directors resign.

Ackerman, former president of Public Service Company of New Mexico and an ethics professor at UNM's Anderson Schools of Management, and his group also sought more transparency in personnel and financial dealings.

The board on Tuesday released a statement saying Heitzig's resignation was "a concession to a group of local dissenters who assured him the media frenzy they helped create would cease."

Currently on the board are: Gino Geraci, Paul Saber, Paul Scozzafava, John Fidel and Michael Rosenblum. Geraci and Saber live out of state. Scozzafava lives in Santa Fe; Fidel and Rosenblum live in Albuquerque.

In his resignation letter, Ries thanked the board "for allowing me to serve as a member of the board for the past few years. My intention has always been to help Calvary Chapel Albuquerque as well as Pastor Skip Heitzig through the transition period" of Ocean Hills and Calvary.

He cited "many ministry responsibilities" at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, Calif., where he serves as pastor, and in his "Somebody Loves You" crusades.

Disagreement over how Calvary Albuquerque was run had been simmering behind the scenes for more than a year.

In November 2004, thenboard member Greg Zanetti wrote a pointed letter to church leaders detailing some of the same concerns Nelson would raise more than a year later.

According to Zanetti's letter, Heitzig stacked the board with his friends - none of whom lived in Albuquerque or attended Calvary - who were more loyal to Heitzig than to the church. Zanetti told the Journal he was forced to resign from the board after writing the letter.

Heitzig has said that it was Nelson who asked Zanetti to step down. Nelson, Zanetti and Ackerman's group all have questioned whether non-local board members serve Calvary's best interests.

Zanetti said Heitzig promised him in a March 8 conversation that Heitzig and the other outof-state directors would resign.

Heitzig told the Journal that same day that he wasn't clear on the others' resignations, and that he needed to speak with Zanetti again on the matter.

Zanetti said Heitzig did not return telephone calls or emails until last week.

Heitzig has said that his future involvement at the church would be up to the pastoral staff, made up of Calvary's pastors.

"I serve at their convenience," he said.

He said that in his March 8 conversation with Zanetti, the possibility was left open that Heitzig could return to Calvary's board

Gift of Radio Station to Calvary Sparked Little Static

Monday, March 20, 2006

By Andrew Webb

Journal Staff Writer

A Christian radio station that figured prominently in the recent power struggle at Calvary Chapel was donated to the church five years ago in a transaction that attracted scant attention.

Bryan Folk, a youth activities leader for an East Mountains evangelical church, was one of two people who formally opposed the deal, urging the Federal Communications Commission to reject the transfer of Albuquerque-based KLYT 88.3-FM to a Calvary-run nonprofit.

The reason: He argued that the nonprofit Christian Broadcasting Academy Inc., which had run KLYT for several years, was not affiliated with any particular church.

"I told the FCC I didn't think it was right to have a public broadcasting station, the only (Christian) one in town, being taken over by one particular denomination," he said recently.

He also claims the deal was set up to benefit former Calvary pastor Skip Heitzig.

Folk said members at Calvary dominated the board of Christian Broadcasting Academy, the company that was operating KLYT.

The president of the Christian Broadcasting Academy Board at the time was Paul Saber, a Calvary Albuquerque board member and prominent backer of Heitzig.

"It just didn't smell right."

Folk said of his objection to the transfer. "It wasn't just gifting (the station) to Calvary; it went straight to Skip."

The Christian Broadcasting Academy Board chaired by Saber voted to give the 31-year-old radio station to a nonprofit subsidiary of Calvary called Connection Communications Associates.

The president of Connection Communications was Heitzig, who founded Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque, and at the time was its senior pastor. Connection Communications ran another Albuquerque station, KTKN.

The FCC permitted the transfer of KLYT and its statewide network of translators on Jan. 1, 2001.

Radio ministry

Fast forward to 2006, when a simmering dispute at the city's biggest nondenominational church boils over into public view.

The resignation letter by Heitzig's hand-picked successor, Pete Nelson, said Heitzig in March 2004 proposed transferring the radio station assets to a company he controlled.

Nelson and board members from Albuquerque voted against the move, which did not occur.

"We were both well aware that the radio stations were very valuable CA (Calvary Albuquerque) assets," Nelson wrote in his letter. "Further, it was my understanding that these radio station assets serve as collateral under a bond indenture of CA and could not be transferred ... without breaching the CA covenants under the debt documents."

Heitzig released letters and statements last week concerning the controversy.

He said proposals involving the radio station were simply matters for discussion and exploration, then rejected.

Although Heitzig left Albuquerque in early 2004 to lead Ocean Hills Community Church in California, the local church still funds "The Connection," Heitzig's daily half-hour radio program.

The program is heard on radio stations around the country and on the Internet.

Both the radio stations and "The Connection" are supported by church funds, generated by tithings and donations, as well as merchandise sold by the Calif.-based producers of "The Connection," said Calvary Associate Pastor and spokesman Chip Lusko.

"All the revenues come back to the church to help underwrite the cost of the radio ministry," he said.

That merchandise includes a vast collection of books, CDs and other materials produced or written by Heitzig and his wife, Lenya.

In a 2004 letter to church officials, former Calvary board member Greg Zanetti said the church had subsidized "The Connection" to the tune of $6 million since 1994 and was continuing to support it with $500,000 per year, despite the fact Heitzig had left Calvary.

Some former church officials, including Nelson, have contended that Heitzig was using local church money to advance a nationwide ministry and have questioned the loyalties of its largely out-of-state board.

"His vision appears to have (Calvary Albuquerque) serving as part of this larger national ministry and includes having (Calvary Albuquerque) provide significant financial resources to fund this national ministry," Nelson wrote in his resignation letter to the board.

In late December, Heitzig wrote to Nelson that, even as he transitioned out of his pastoral duties in Albuququerque, he never intended to leave the radio ministry in New Mexico.

"KLYT was gifted to Calvary ABQ because of my past track record in the community with reaching out to youth."

He wrote that the board specifically insisted on his involvement in order that the programming and expansion be sustained.

Spreading the gospel

Radio— especially low-power FM stations with networks of inexpensive translator stations— is one of evangelical Christianity's key mediums for spreading the gospel. A 2000 study by the Hartford Institute for Religious Research found that nearly 50 percent of megachurches— those with 2,000 or more members— used radio as part of communicating to the flock.

The global Calvary movement also operates a nationwide radio network, Calvary Satellite Network, or CSN, which showcases music and sermons from evangelists like Billy Graham, national Calvary founder Chuck Smith and Heitzig.

Today, Calvary operates two radio stations.

KLYT, otherwise known as M88, plays youth-oriented Christian music and programs statewide and in southern Colorado. First founded in the mid-1970s and run by a network of evangelical churches, KLYT has been frequently referred to as one of the country's longest-running youth-oriented Christian radio stations.

KNKT, or Connection 107.1, is an adult-oriented station broadcasting contemporary music, talk and religious services in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. It has operated since 1986.

Stations were key assets

Because churches do not have to report to the Internal Revenue Service, tracking financial information for Calvary is difficult. But the scant records available for the short-lived nonprofit Connection Communications Association show that the two radio stations were key church assets.

At the end of 2000, an IRS form 990 filed by Christian Broadcasting Academy showed KLYT had assets of $300,219.

It had total annual revenues of about $26,000, lost nearly $500,000 per year and depended largely on donations from listeners and fundraising concerts and other events for its survival.

Christian Broadcasting Academy dissolved in 2001, and Calvary's Connection Communication Association filed its first 990, reporting on its year running KLYT and KTKN.

That report placed total assets at $3.5 million after accounts payable and other expenses.

Total revenues were $4.7 million, most of which came from "noncash" direct public support totaling $4.2 million. The tax filing did not detail the source of that funding.

Lusko said he did not know where the $4.2 million came from.

The nonprofit Connection Communications Association continued to run the stations for two more years, recording annual revenues of $600,000 to $700,000. Expenses exceeded revenues by about $100,000 for those two years.

In 2003, all the radio station's assets were donated by the Connection Communications Association to Calvary Chapel, which does not have to report to the IRS, and no financial information is available after 2003.

Connection Communications is still cited as the copyright holder on Web sites for the two radio stations and for Heitzig's radio show, "The Connection."

Calvary Board to Discuss Founder's Resignation

Monday, March 20, 2006

By Jeff Proctor

Journal Staff Writer

This week could be pivotal for Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque.

The 14,000-member church's board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday. On the agenda: the resignation of Calvary founder and former senior pastor Skip Heitzig.

Heitzig, who has served as Calvary board chairman since founding the church nearly a quarter-century ago, submitted a letter of resignation March 10, according to Tom Garrity, who is handling public relations for Calvary.

That wasn't the first time Heitzig tried to resign during the leadership crisis that has gripped Calvary in the past month.

According to church leaders who spoke from the pulpit on Feb. 26, Heitzig had "submitted his resignation, but the board wouldn't accept it."

That scenario isn't likely to play out again at Tuesday's meeting, Garrity said.

"The situation has dramatically changed since (Feb. 26), and it is Skip's desire that the board accept his resignation," Garrity said Sunday. "Skip's desire for the congregation is that the healing process begin.

"From everything I've heard, the resignation will be accepted."

What is still unclear is whether Calvary's other out-of-state board members will resign as well.

Controversy at Calvary spilled into public view Feb. 19 when then-senior pastor Pete Nelson abruptly stepped down. In his resignation letter, obtained by the Journal, Nelson cited a struggle with Heitzig for control of Calvary.

Nelson wrote that Heitzig, who left Albuquerque in early 2004 to lead Ocean Hills Community Church in California, was not allowing him to choose his own board members— or enough autonomy to run the megachurch as he saw fit.

A November 2004 letter written by then-board member Greg Zanetti raised many of the same concerns.

Zanetti's letter, also obtained by the Journal, said Heitzig had tried to wrest control of Calvary's two multi-million dollar radio stations from the church. Zanetti also expressed concern that Heitzig had loaded Calvary's board of directors with his friends, who did not live in Albuquerque or attend Calvary, and who were more loyal to Heitzig than to the church.

Finally, during the first week of March, a group of church members headed by John Ackerman went to the board and demanded that Heitzig and all other out-of-state board members resign.

Ackerman, former president of Public Service Company of New Mexico and an ethics professor at UNM's Anderson Schools of Management, is a longtime member of Calvary.

The group he leads wants more transparency and accountability in Calvary's financial and personnel moves, and asserts local governance is a key first step to achieving those objectives.

At Tuesday's meeting will be Heitzig, Gino Geraci, Paul Saber, Raul Ries, Paul Scozzafava and Michael Rosenblum, according to Garrity. John Fidel, a certified public accountant, is on sabbatical until the end of tax season.

Geraci, Saber and Ries all live out of state. Scozzafava lives in Santa Fe; Rosenblum and Fidel— the board's two most recent appointments— live in Albuquerque.

Zanetti said that, on March 8, Heitzig promised his resignation along with those of Geraci, Saber and Ries.

On that same day, Heitzig told the Journal that he wasn't clear on the others' resignations, and that he needed to speak with Zanetti again on the matter. Heitzig has not returned telephone calls from the Journal since March 8, and Zanetti said Heitzig did not get back in touch with him until last week.

It appears that Heitzig's will be the lone resignation discussed by the board Tuesday.

"I'm not aware of any other resignations that could be coming down the pike right now," Garrity said Sunday, but he left open the possibility the others could step down.

The board will act on three other items Tuesday: selection of an interim senior pastor; a selection process to find a permanent senior pastor; and internal realignment of staff to meet existing and future church needs.

Garrity said Heitzig is "very unlikely" to fill the role of interim senior pastor. But he said Heitzig may return sometime down the road— either as senior pastor or as a board member.

"He has a strong place in his heart for Calvary of Albuquerque," Garrity said. "Whether those feeling will bring him back, I don't know."

For now, there is no "short list" of candidates to step in as senior pastor. In fact, on Tuesday the board will simply discuss a process to find the church's next top preacher.

As for "internal realignment," Garrity said, the church has at least two spots to fill on its pastoral staff. Bob Church and C.B. Blankenship— both members of the staff— resigned about the same time as Nelson last month, he said.

Garrity, president of the Garrity Group LLC, said he was hired last week by Calvary Associate Pastor Chip Lusko, who normally handles media inquiries for the church.

Garrity counts as recent clients the Albuquerque Public Schools, Intel, New Mexico Senate Democrats, Furr's Supermarkets and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

He said his salary is being paid by the Calvary board of directors but declined to say how much.

Garrity's role, he said, is to manage "crisis communications and public relations" for Calvary.

"The church is in the midst of a transition, and the pastoral staff more than has its work cut out for it," he said. "That's one of the underlying reasons I was brought on."

Zanetti and Ackerman have criticized Calvary's hiring of a public relations firm.

"I find it revealing that Skip Heitzig and Chip Lusko are using Calvary Albuquerque funds to pay a public relations firm," Zanetti said in an interview. "Using hard-earned tithings and offerings in this manner is deplorable. Truth does not need spin or packaging."

Ackerman said Sunday that none of his group's concerns have been addressed so far.

"Our principal concerns continue to be a governance process and behavior that lacks accountability, transparency and truth," he wrote in an e-mail response to Journal questions. "P.R. firms are hired to improve image. The best way to improve the church's current image is to adopt accountability, transparency and truth. It is cheaper than a P.R. firm, and may even be biblical."

Journal staffer Paul Logan contributed to this report.

Letters to the Editor - Views From the Pews

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Church Delivers Money's Worth

AS ONE OF the 14,000 who worship at Calvary Chapel who was referred to by Greg Zanetti as a "little old woman" ... being taken advantage of financially by Skip Heitzig, I would like to respond. ... I do not regret the money which I have donated and which was given to Heitzig and his family.

If one does the math, the severance pay is a bonus of $12,000 for each year that Heitzig has served. Although I have attended Calvary for only about six of those years, I suspect that in the early years of the church those finances must have been "lean to nonexistent."

It would be interesting to know how many years Heitzig went without any financial support at all. It was also noted in the article that the Heitzigs were not furnished housing, which is a traditional benefit given by many churches.

And why is it so horrible that some of the money from the local church be used to support a worldwide radio ministry? Didn't Jesus say to go into the entire world and preach the good news?

Perhaps the reason that I attend Calvary Chapel is the reason that others do also. I want Bible study. I want to study chapter by chapter, verse by verse. I want to start with the biblical text and a teacher to expound— not a sermon with a convenient scripture as a postscript. I receive this at Calvary Chapel and, yes, I get my money's worth.



House Cleaning Is Long Overdue

THE SITUATION with Skip Heitzig at Calvary Chapel is standard operating procedure. Wide is the path and many are they who have been burned by Heitzig.

There are many casualties over the last two decades of good people who have been axed, canned or forced out simply because they crossed him. Pete Nelson is the only one who has had the guts— or perhaps more accurately, the venue— to make it public.

Franklin Graham and Calvary's current board seemed to express concerns about Nelson's leadership. I believe the problem is Nelson's "followership"— his unwillingness to blindly follow Heitzig's dictatorship. God bless Nelson. Cleansing begins with the House of God.



This Trash Isn't Front-Page News

CALVARY CHAPEL'S internal garbage is not front-page news. It does not deserve more than a brief article in the Metro section— if that.


Rio Rancho

New Congregation Also in Turmoil

IT IS DEEPLY sobering to read of all the turmoil at Calvary Chapel because of Skip Heitzig's involvement.

Hearing of this brings back painful memories of how Heitzig defiantly strutted into our church and assumed the throne under false pretenses to become the senior pastor of Ocean Hills Community Church in 2004.

He was extremely crafty at dismantling our wonderful body of believers. In less than a year, he obliterated our choir— stating that it was an antiquated form of worship— canceled all Bible studies, let go all our pastors, one of who had a wife dying of breast cancer.

He refused to meet with concerned church members, stating that they were immature. He had a Machiavellian way of squashing anyone who had a dissenting opinion. Should the old board members and old pastors of Ocean Hills Community Church speak candidly about this, I'm sure their testimony of Heitzig would be the same as Pete Nelson's.


Coto de Caza, Calif.

Heitzigs Our Own Jim, Tammy Faye

I WAS STUNNED to read on the front-page news what I personally knew was brewing at Calvary Chapel for years. I attended Calvary for close to a decade and finally left in disgust over the arrogance, lack of accountability and spendthrift ways of Skip and Lenya Heitzig.

I felt that the only difference between the Heitzigs and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker was the Heitzigs' facade of an "Orange County" lifestyle/class which seemed to be lacking in Jim and Tammy Faye. Their motives however are the same— power, greed and fame seeking, which are definitely not fruits of the spirit.

My experience with the Heitzigs was they were totally unapproachable, lived in a huge expensive home in Tanoan, drove only high-end luxury cars, jet-setted around the globe with Franklin Graham and never ceased making improvements on their Disney-esque "temple of greed" that they now call Calvary Chapel on Osuna Boulevard. ...

The allegation that Heitzig maintains control over his empire is not too far-fetched. I recall a former roommate of mine who was on staff at Calvary in the 1990s who tells that Heitzig maintained control even over where his staff lived. Addresses in the South Valley were unacceptable. ...

Now Heitzig has brought in his big gun Franklin Graham to further fuel the fear and intimidation that he so subtly yet expertly uses to control his flock. By doing this he sends the message to the Christian community that Pete Nelson is wrong and not to be trusted. What card-carrying evangelical born-again Christian is brave enough to argue with the son of Billy Graham?

I am deeply thankful that these abuses have finally come to light. Heitzig has imposed such power and fear over his people that I am deeply impressed at Nelson's brave stance to "speak the truth."

I would like to challenge the people of Calvary to investigate those independent audits to see exactly how their money is being spent. I doubt that but a handful will be courageous enough to do that.



'News' Makes Hard Process Harder

I HAVE WATCHED as the Albuquerque Journal placed report after report ... on the front page about the church that I consider my home. ...

Unfortunately, the way the Journal has handled the "news" has made an already difficult process a much more painful one. Not only do we now have to seek God's will as we search for a new pastor to lead in our church, but we also have to stand up to ridicule, anger and spite that I believe have been encouraged by the Journal.

As a member of the church (who) ... has been present at all of the services where the issues have been openly addressed, I can see that the Journal has not made ... truth its main priority when reporting the things that are currently going on at Calvary. ... It is discouraging and it is hurtful.

There are two things that I know for sure in this situation. The first is the media obviously has no sympathy in such situations and its only purpose is to exploit and feed off the stories that, of course, consumers will be interested in. ...

The second thing that I know for sure, and the reason I am writing, is that Calvary belongs to God, and that he alone has been working in the lives of the people in this church in amazing ways through Skip Heitzig and Pete Nelson as well as through the other leaders and ministers at Calvary.

I know that he will continue to work in our lives until the day he has perfected his work in us. My purpose for writing is to give hope and comfort where the Journal and others have failed to do so.

As many have mentioned in the services at Calvary, there is a time for everything, and the time now is to follow God and allow him to lead us where he may over the next few months or years. His plan is never disturbed or changed by the plans of men. We can be certain that he will work everything out for the good of those who love him. ...



Congregation Is The Real Loser

WHAT A surprise! It turns out that Calvary Chapel's wunderkind founder Skip Heitzig has feet of clay, a heart full of greed and a strong need for power and control— just like most of the other "big-church," evangelistic preachers.

Looks to me like the best indicators of a corrupt clergy are a huge church building with a "cult of personality" about the pastor or founder.

Unfortunately, the real losers in the Calvary soap opera won't be Heitzig, Pete Nelson or the church's board. They will be the members of the congregation who have given of their time and wealth to what amounts to another self-enrichment scheme.



Only God Decides Who Stays, Goes

... SHAME ON all of you. Reading the articles in the paper, I feel like I am back in fifth grade. He-said-this, he-said-that arguments are popping up everywhere. ...We need to focus on now and the future. Let's all grow up.

So Skip Heitzig received a very generous severance package. Who is to say that he did not deserve more? How many of us can say we have not only preached at one of the largest churches, but also led it? ...

To those who have started Web sites to bring back Pete Nelson, if you would take the time to think, you would know that your signatures will not bring Nelson back to Calvary. Only God has the power to do that. ...

John Ackerman is demanding that Heitzig and other board members resign immediately. Who is he and his group to demand the resignations? They do not necessarily represent the opinions or same feelings that others do. Have they spoken with the 15,000 plus members about this? ...

Why are we not setting an example by turning to the One who truly leads this church— God? ...I am a proud member of Calvary, and I am praying that people will let God choose who goes, who stays, where they go and everything else.



Actions Louder Than Preaching

THE RECENT debacle over Skip Heitzig and his Calvary Chapel is truly nauseating and difficult to comprehend. In addition to his clandestine move to greener pastures and a huge severance package, he "received cars, office furniture and radio station equipment" and the funding of his daily radio ministry to the tune of $7 million.

He and his crony Paul Saber's attempt "to transfer Calvary's two multimillion dollar radio stations to a corporation run by both of them" is indicative of a self-aggrandizing and financially ambitious mindset, not one of selfless teaching of the ways of the Lord.

It is obvious to the observer that this continuous and repeated pattern of self-serving behavior says much more about the real Heitzig and his gang than what he preaches from the pulpit. What would Jesus think?



Prayer Service Rated More Play

WHY IS IT when the "first 12 rows" of Calvary are filled— not to mention all of the other rows which were partially filled— to approach our problems with biblical standards (prayer), the story is buried in the back page of the paper?

Then, when a very small group, fronted by one individual, Greg Zanetti, raises questions about the church and doesn't follow biblical Christian guidelines regarding church problems, he is given front-page status day after day after day?

I may or may not agree with the board and pastors of Calvary, but I do know that Zanetti absolutely does not speak for me or for a majority of Calvary members.

There were many more at that prayer service than there are in Zanetti's group. To place his view on the front page and the rest of our views on a back page smacks of biased reporting or editing by the Journal.