Florida Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over 'Moral Failure'

"Pastor Bob" Coy, the leader of one of America's fastest-growing megachurches, Fort Lauderdale's Calvary Chapel, resigned abruptly this weekend. A statement from the church cited an unspecified "moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church."

And two weeks before Easter, no less. Local10 says he confessed to infidelity, as does at least one blog, but there's neither details nor confirmation, and Calvary isn't talking. The odds are pretty good he didn't confess to manslaughter or puppy kicking, though.

The move came as a surprise to church-goers, according to the Sun-Sentinel:

"Most people were shocked," said congregant Robert Milne, of Wilton Manors, who attended the standing room-only meeting that drew an estimated 7,500 parishioners. "A lot of people were hurt, a lot of people are disappointed."

That's a lot of damn parishioners, but then Calvary is an enormous organization. Since Coy founded the church with his wife Diane in 1985, it's grown into the second-largest megachurch in Florida with something like 20,000 members, according to the Religious News Service; Outreach magazine says it's the 14th largest church in the nation. Calvary boasts ten campuses around Florida and $135 million in assets, according to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Calvary says the church will be fine without Coy:

But it certainly never hurts to have a charismatic dude running the show. It'll be interesting to see what happens to one of these massively, rapidly growing outfits without its head honcho.

"Of course I forgive him," added Milne, the parishioner who talked to the Sun-Sentinel. "We're all sinners and we've all slipped here and there." He added:

In the past, Milne said, Coy cautioned church members not to place too much faith in humans, himself included, who are subject to moral weaknesses. "He said, 'Don't put your trust in me, because I'm going to let you down,' " Milne recalled.

Not a bad rule of thumb, actually.

Photos via Facebook, Calvary Chapel.