A pastor who is the son of the founder of Alabama’s largest church has been removed from his position due to a “moral failing.”
Until recently, Michael Hodges had been pastor at the Greystone branch campus of the Church of the Highlands, which has 15 branch campuses with more than 40,000 people in attendance every week, reported AL.com.
But on Sept. 30, his father, Senior Pastor Chris Hodges, announced at the ReCreate Women’s Conference that Michael Hodges had a moral failing, which was not specified, and he would no longer lead the Greystone branch.
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AL.com notes that all references to Michael Hodges were scrubbed from the church’s website in September, and his accounts on social media were deactivated.
Michael Hodges had been on the church staff since 2015 with a variety of titles in addition to pastor, including director of ministry partnership and placement, and as a member of the Highlands College Team, which teaches students at the church’s ministry-training program.
The church has not responded to a request by AL.com for a statement on the status of Michael Hodges, nor has it announced whether he will be reinstated to the church staff.
The report indicates that a current staffer at Church of the Highlands, Associate Pastor Dino Rizzo, had engaged in an inappropriate relationship at his previous church, but went through a plan for restoration to the ministry which was supervised by Chris Hodges.
Rizzo reportedly took a sabbatical in July 2012 and then resigned as senior pastor of the Healing Place Church he founded in 1993 in Baton Rouge, La.
He and his wife underwent counseling before returning to the pulpit.