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Family founder Dobson to counsel Haggard

Focus on the
Family founder Dobson to counsel Haggard

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson will be one of the people overseeing counseling for the Reverend Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use, a senior official of Dobson's organization said Monday. The counseling process, called restoration, could take years, said H.B. London, vice president of Ministry Outreach and Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry. ''I think it may be more in helping to set the requirements of the restoration, set the ground rules,'' London told the Associated Press. Haggard was forced out as senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs on Saturday after a former male escort alleged they had engaged in sex repeatedly and that Haggard sometimes was on methamphetamines during their trysts. In a statement read at the church Sunday, Haggard confessed to unspecified ''sexual immorality,'' accepted responsibility for his actions, and asked forgiveness. Dobson will join the Reverend Jack Hayford of the Church on the Way, located in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles, and the Reverend Tommy Barnett of First Assembly of God in Phoenix in overseeing Haggard's restoration, according to a letter from Haggard that was read at New Life services on Sunday. ''Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family,'' Haggard wrote. Hayford's spokesman said he was not available for comment Monday. Barnett did not immediately return a call to respond. (AP)

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