Ted Haggard announced the launch of a new church last week with the help of a Los Angeles PR firm that's gotten him some high profile platforms from which to pitch the project.
Included among them was his appearance alongside long-suffering wife Gayle on Headline News' The Joy Behar Show; watch it below.
However, the number of people who showed up yesterday for the St. James Church's first official event was on the low end of his best guesses.
In speaking with Behar, Haggard said he didn't know how many people in Colorado Springs would be willing to accept his spiritual guidance following the scandal involving male escort Mike Jones. According to him, there might be twenty people, or there might be two-hundred people, or there might be a thousand people.
The actual attendance? According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, around 160 folks actually turned up -- not an embarrassing turnout, but hardly the sort of massive outpouring of support that might have been anticipated given Haggard's previous following, not to mention the carefully managed rehabilitation campaign assembled by the Prenner Group, whose namesake, Amy Prenner, flew from SoCal to Colorado Springs last week to personally oversee the church announcement.
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A film crew memorialized that event with an eye toward a potential documentary or reality series, and the cameras were back on Sunday to capture a carefully assembled program. For instance, the Gazette reports that at least one speaker at the service -- Mikey Maschot, who's gay -- was flown to Colorado Springs from Texas after answering an ad on Craigslist.
Oh yeah: Another person who shared the makeshift altar with Haggard was a massage therapist -- Jones's official profession, as noted in this vintage ad, which declares, "Don't Be Disappointed Again!!!!!"
In many ways, Haggard's service yesterday delivered the same message -- and we'll know if people accepted it if attendance at St. James grows over the next three-to-six months, as opposed to dipping as soon as the publicity wears off. Here's the Behar segment: