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Originally published February 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 13, 2007 at 11:17 AM

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Senior pastor at Overlake announces he's resigning

The senior pastor at Redmond's Overlake Christian Church, brought in eight years ago after his predecessor was beset by scandal, has announced...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The senior pastor at Redmond's Overlake Christian Church, brought in eight years ago after his predecessor was beset by scandal, has announced his resignation.

Church elders did not offer specifics on when or how a new senior pastor will be chosen to succeed Pastor Rick Kingham as head of one of the largest churches in the state.

"During his eight years on staff, Pastor Rick served with honor and integrity and helped lay a spiritual foundation on which future ministry will be built," said Bob Senatore, a church elder, in a statement.

Kingham is credited with helping the congregation get through the tumultuous period after the resignation of Pastor Bob Moorehead, who had led the church for 28 years.

Moorehead resigned in 1998 after several men came forward saying he had touched them inappropriately years ago. Moorehead denied the accusations but resigned, saying his credibility had been damaged.

After first supporting Moorehead, church elders later said they believed the allegations.

"Rick was a perfect, soothing balm for what the church needed at that time," said church member Lori Dilio.

Kingham's compassion helped church members heal, and now the congregation is "really ready to move forward," doing more to reach the wider community, she said.

"I don't know where Rick fits into that picture. To me, it was a sad moment. But maybe it was inevitable."

Kingham, 54, announced his resignation Sunday. He will lead one more service, on Feb. 25, after returning from training Christian pastors in India.

Kingham's resignation came about a month after church elders requested he take a sabbatical, which he had not done in eight years. The intent was for him to rest and get re-energized, Senatore told congregants at the time.

About 3,500 people attend Sunday services at the nondenominational Overlake church. Although last year's attendance was up from the year before, it's still below the approximately 6,000 people who attended in 1997, when the church was headed by Moorehead and when it opened its $37 million facility.

Before coming to Overlake, Kingham had served as a vice president and founding minister of Promise Keepers, a revival movement for men.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272; jtu@seattletimes.com

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