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Gateway Church members return to services this weekend, minus Robert Morris

Gateway Church members return to services this weekend
Gateway Church members return to services this weekend 03:22

NORTH TEXAS — Mid-June 2024 is likely a time members of the Gateway Church won't soon forget. The megachurch cringed at a different revelation of founding pastor Robert Morris.

Congregants from six locations head back into the sanctuary for healing and answers.

In a message posted on the church's website, the elders reached out to members.

"This is an unthinkable and painful time in our church. Our church congregation is hurt and shaken, and we know that you have many important questions," Elders said. "We want to answer as many of your questions as we can at this point, and we ask that you continue to extend us grace as we navigate through the most challenging time in Gateway's history."

The Watchburg Watch published Cindy Clemishire's recollection of sexual abuse by Morris. She said it started on December 25, 1982, and continued until March 1987. The story gained steam in The Christian Post.

Gateway was not a church at the time. Morris was an evangelist on the road with his wife. According to an initial statement from the nine elders at Gateway, "Pastor Robert has been open and forthright about a moral failure he had over 35 years ago when he was in his twenties and prior to him starting Gateway Church."

The elders said Morris had spoken openly in the pulpit about the proper steps he took for restoration, including a two-year hiatus from ministry to get professional and freedom ministry.

"I was involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady in a home I was staying," Morris said. "It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong."

The former Gateway leader said the relationship continued into March 1987 and came to light when he said he confessed, repented, and submitted to elders of Shady Grove Church in addition to the young lady's father.

Clemishire pushed back in an interview with CBS News Texas.

"Young lady? I was not a young lady. I was a little girl. I was 12," she said.

The alleged victim said he told her not to tell anyone or it would ruin everything.

By June 18, Morris had resigned from running the church, which is said to have as many as 100,000 members. He also stepped down as chancellor and the Board of Trustees of Kings University. The preacher also gave up his spiritual oversight over his daughter and son-in-law's church in Houston.

"...Please be praying for those affected, including Cindy Clemishire, her family, the Morris family, Gateway members, staff, and others," Elders said in the latest statement. 

Services at six of the church's campuses are on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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