Ft. Laud. megachurch pastor resigns over 'moral failing' - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Ft. Laud. megachurch pastor resigns over 'moral failing'

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Former Calvary Chapel pastor Bob Coy Former Calvary Chapel pastor Bob Coy

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida pastor is stepping down from his longtime leadership role after confessing to a "moral failing in his life," a church spokesperson said.

About 7,500 worshippers attending Sunday afternoon service at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale were informed that 58-year-old Bob Coy, senior pastor at the megachurch he founded with his wife Diane in 1985, had resigned Thursday.

Coy had a TV show called "Active Word," which aired Sunday mornings on WSVN. Thousands would come see him preach in person at Calvary Chapel, which grew into a 20,000-parishioner-strong megachurch and made Coy well-known in religious circles.

Behind the church's mammoth walls, Pastor Bob, as he was affectionately known, would give his sermon. "He made us in His image. Stop trying to make Him in your image," Coy said during one of his sermons.

Coy's TV program has also been suspended. In a statement issued Sunday by Calvary Chapel's director of communications, the spokesperson said the pastor stepped down "after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church."

On Sunday, the congregation learned of Coy's decision when another pastor read his goodbye letter. "'I've disgraced God and my family and you,'" the pastor read. "'I'm stepping down from the senior pastor position to pursue what should matter most: the restoration rebuilding of my family.'"

The church did not return 7News' requests to elaborate on the nature of the behavior that led to Coy's resignation. Coy has not responded to calls for comment.

Former parishioner Joseph LaFontaine said he's disappointed Coy did not face his congregation in person. "He hid behind a letter," he said. "You can't see a man's true sincerity by hiding behind a letter. When you get the man in front of you and you can see his [facial] expressions, then you know if there's true sincerity."

LaFontaine added he wanted to see his former pastor apologize. "He has let down thousands of people and he has let down this community, and he has just put a huge stain in the Body of Christ," he said.

"I don't know, but you know what? I'm not whom to judge," said another congregant. "We're just here to pray."

Parishioner Kathe Deangelis said that, regardless of his lapses in judgment, she forgives Coy. "I will love him forever," she said. "He will always be my pastor."

Deangelis said one of Coy's best qualities is his ability to unite people from different backgrounds. "He's just real, and he brought so many of us together," he said. "He brought so many people to God."

Fellow congregant Deborah Calcote echoed Deangelis' words of praise. "He ministered with a passion and a love, and [he is] such a great gift to the Body of Christ," she said. "We know that God has a plan for his life, and we love him, and we will continue to pray for him."

Another parishioner said she could empathize with Coy and his family. "From my past, I was married to a pastor also, and I've gone through it, and ... we're all humans," she said.

"He's very well loved and forgiven," said Deangelis. "I will love him forever. I wish he was here so I could hug him, and we will be praying for him and his family

Church officials said Coy is receiving counsel from some of their other pastors. Assistant pastors have stepped forward to fill in for Coy at Calvary Chapel.

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