FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Known for his powerful preaching, Pastor Bob Coy who has led Calvary Chapel Church in Fort Lauderdale for 30 years, abruptly resigned over what’s being called a “moral failure.”
The resignation was announced at a special church meeting on Sunday.
At the church’s regular mid-week service on Wednesday, churchgoers packed the place, in a show of solidarity.
“For us, we pick up and we move on,” said longtime churchgoer Monte Scott.
She added that the church is bigger than one person and that they are praying for Coy.
“We want him to find forgiveness,” she said. “We want him to find redemption. We want him to get his life back to some sort of normalcy. Will it be here? Probably not.”
The church released a statement on Sunday that reads in part, “Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life…Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and 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.”
While many members of the congregation are not condemning Pastor Bob, they don’t know what will happen next.
Joseph Lafontaine who has been a Calvary Chapel member on and off for seven years was at the Church on Sunday and recorded the announcement.
“The crowd was very quiet. It was very cold-ish feeling,” said Lafontaine.
“I am not surprised,” he continued. Lafontaine tells CBS4 he has had suspicions on how the church operates for many years.
“There should have been more accountability at Calvary Chapel,” he says. “Pastor Bob shouldn’t have been put on such a high pedestal and he should have never had so much power. Whenever there is that, it’s a formula for disaster.”
The popular church boasts over 20,000 members, has 10 campuses, and 1,000 employees.
“You know he did a lot of good,” said Mitch Guertler a church member. “He helped out a lot of people and I’m just really sad but like he always said up on stage—don’t follow him, follow Christ. So, you know, he’s a sinner like the rest of us and it’s just too bad.”
“I was very disappointed but I believe that we are human so yes it’s very sad,” said church member Erica Waggoner.
Word that Coy was leaving surfaced last Friday on a blog known as ‘Calvary Chapel Abuse.’
Someone anonymously posted, “I first became aware of Bob Coy’s affairs back in 2005.”
Alex Joye Grenier who started the blog four years ago to report abuse and corruption said he confirmed the tip with multiple sources within the church.
“I think it’s high time the church looks inward and cleans up its own messes,” Grenier said in a Skype interview. “These men are not perfect. They’re not specially annointed. When they do something wrong, they need to be held accountable.”
Another blogger ‘Phoenix Preacher’ picked up on that post. The operator of that blog Michael Newnham tells CBS 4 he confirmed through inside church sources that “Coy has admitted to two affairs and a problem with pornography.”
The church won’t comment on the allegations.
On Friday, before news of his resignation became public, Coy tweeted “In His name the nations will put their hope. Matthew 12:21.”
He did not answer the door at his Coral Springs home Monday.
On Monday afternoon, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale Web Pastor Dan Hickling informed parishioners of the decision to remove Bob Coy’s teachings and associated media content from the church’s website.
“We’ve discerned the need to guard against those who would inappropriately misuse this content when time and space is needed for the Coy family to properly heal,” Hickling wrote.”
Franklin Graham, the son of the great televangelist will lead the Easter Service on the campus of FAU in place of Coy, according to the church.