Church pastor resigns; admits to having affairs - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Church pastor resigns; admits to having affairs

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

Controversy rocks a large east valley church --  a pastor at Mission Community Church resigned after he confesses to having affairs. 

In a video from the church's web site, former lead pastor Mark Connelly delivered a sermon on Christmas Eve.  Less than a week after the sermon, he resigned.

In a statement the church said this past week, we received information that Mark Connelly had engaged in extramarital, physical affairs with women. Mark has confessed to the affairs.

On December 30th, the pastor was asked to resign from Mission Community Church.

This church near Elliot and Power roads in Gilbert is one of the largest in the state with more than 6,000 people attending.

On its website, the church also posted video of Sunday's sermon, where another pastor discussed the resignation.

"I don't know about you, but when I first heard this news, I felt like I have been hit in the gut," said Randy Thomas.  "I have to confess that I started getting really angry and there is this sense of betrayal that I was starting to feel and this sense of despair and then this sense of compassion."

Mission Community started in an east valley high school cafeteria back 1995.  The church built its large facility in Gilbert about 10 years ago.

In that statement the church said, "As a church whose vision is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God, we have offered counseling and mercy ministry resources to Mark, his family and the other individuals involved."

Connelly has been the lead pastor since 2005.

The church has named Gary Sutliff, a former board member and current executive pastor of ministries, to the position of interim lead pastor.

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