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

1 comment:

Michael Newnham said...

Glad to see this record up.