Highpoint Church, whose teaching pastor Andy Savage resigned over past sexual abuse, announced on Wednesday that its lead pastor, Chris Conlee, has also resigned.
In a joint statement sent to members Wednesday, Conlee and the trustees said his resignation from the Memphis, Tennessee, church will help them move forward in a fresh direction and attract better candidates for the pastor role.
“The Trustees and Chris have mutually agreed that the time is now right for Chris to pass the baton. This will enable us to recalibrate our search for a new Teaching Pastor into the search for a Senior Pastor. By creating this new role, we will be able to attract a stronger pool of candidates to lead the next phase of Highpoint’s ministry. To enable this, Chris will resign from Highpoint Church and pursue God’s heart for the expansion of his ministry as a visionary leader.”
Conlee is expected to personally address the church he has led for the last 16 years on Sunday.
Controversy at Highpoint began when Jules Woodson told The Wartburg Watch in January that Savage, while he was her youth pastor 20 years ago, coerced her into performing oral sex on him on a dark Texas dirt road. Savage previously stated that he believed the sex between him and the teenage Woodson was consensual. But after an investigation that led to his resignation in March, the church admitted they handled the situation poorly.
Conlee expressed unwavering support for Savage during the investigation, and defended him against critics, expressing “total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through” following the assault.
In response to Conlee’s resignation, Woodson said she was overwhelmed.
“It’s overwhelming and I promise you these are actually good tears,” she said as she wept through an interview with Local Memphis. “I definitely think this is the high point of my birthday. I feel it is absolutely the right decision for Chris Conlee to resign from ministry.”
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Source: Christian Post