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Megapastor quits due to 'moral failing'

Bob Coy has resigned as senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The senior pastor at the America’s 14th-largest Christian megachurch has shocked his flock by suddenly resigning his position due to “a moral failing in his life.”

South Florida’s Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale says Bob Coy stepped down April 3, “effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.”

There was no further disclosure about the specific type of moral failing.

Diane Coy

The 58-year-old pastor is married to Diane Coy, who co-founded the church with him nearly 30 years ago. The congregation has since grown from its main campus to have six affiliated churches in Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, West Boca, Plantation, Hollywood and the Keys.

“The media ministry of the Active Word that distributes his Bible teachings through radio, television, and digital media has also been suspended,” the church said in its statement.

Regarding the removal of Coy’s teachings, his fellow pastor Dan Hickling explained, “Unfortunately, we have already witnessed the malicious use of Pastor Bob’s images and vicious rumors online that can only run contrary to our hope for restoration. With that in mind, we have taken the precaution to suspend access to his teaching content for now.”

Leaders of the 20,000-member church also indicated, “Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and with his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.

“Trusting in God’s providence, protection, provision and direction, the staff of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale will continue our mission to ‘make disciples,’ through regular services at all campuses and through a myriad of other ministries the church has established over the years. A team of assistant pastors already on staff will maintain their usual rotating schedule as teaching pastors for all services.”

“Recognizing we serve a God of second chances and that our hope is in Him,” the statement concludes, “the leadership, staff and members of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale have joined together in prayer for Pastor Bob and his family during this time of healing.”

South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel reported thousands of parishioners showed up for a special Sunday afternoon meeting at the church and were stunned to learn Coy had abruptly quit.

“Most people were shocked,” congregant Robert Milne, of Wilton Manors, Fla., who attended the standing room-only meeting that drew some 7,500 parishioners, told the paper. “A lot of people were hurt, a lot of people are disappointed.”

“Of course I forgive him,” Milne added. “We’re all sinners and we’ve all slipped here and there.”

During the special meeting, pastors read a letter from Coy in which he said he was sorry for his transgressions and that the church will continue to flourish.

Shocked parishioners are sounding off online about the resignation, with many saying they’re praying for Coy, and others expressing concern and confusion: