Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Integrity failures" & arrogance may have forced departure of Kansas minister Terry Fox

By Diane Silver

Possible failures of integrity, arrogance toward his own congregation, frequent absences and an obsession with politics may be the issues that prompted Rev. Terry Fox' departure from Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church. He reportedly walked out just as the church deacons were preparing to confront him.

That's the word today from two deacons of the church who spoke to Joe Rodriguez of The Wichita Eagle.

The deacons also gave a detailed account of how Fox came to resign abruptly on Aug. 6, stunning the congregation he had lead for 10 years. Also discussed is the conflict between Immanuel and a new church Fox is starting in a Wichita wild west theme park. That new venue, called Summit Church, is being launched tomorrow with a service at the same time as Immanuel's 10:30 service.

Fox called most of the deacon's comments "rumors."

The Eagle reports:
The leaders of Immanuel have said little officially about why Fox left. But two Immanuel deacons, who asked to remain anonymous, said congregational leaders were upset with Fox's frequent trips away from the church, his "arrogant" attitude toward the congregation, "the appearance of integrity failures," and his constant references to political and social issues, such as abortion, from the pulpit.

"You don't need to tell me that every Sunday for 52 Sundays in a row," one deacon said in reference to Fox's opposition to abortion.
The entire article is well worth reading. Kudos to reporter Joe Rodriguez for staying on the story.

The next thing Wichita needs is for someone from Immanuel to speak on the record. For a man as politically and spiritually powerful as Fox, possible lapses in judgment should be completely and publicly explained. If Fox is the equivalent of a snake-oil salesman, his new congregation deserves to know.

Fox gained fame statewide last year as one of the movers and shakers behind the push that successfully banned same-sex marriage, civil union and any other legal rights for lesbian or gay couples. Those rights could include the ability to visit a dying spouse in a hospital.

I am one of many people who fought hard to defeat Fox. I continue to oppose his political campaigns. Foolish me, though. I always thought Fox merely had a different point of view than I did. I never imagined there might be other issues

The problem,of course, is that without someone from Immanuel speaking on the record, we will not know for certain what Fox did.

Here is In This Moment's coverage of Terry Fox' strange, unfinished odyssey.

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