After stepping aside from active ministry due to a "moral failure," pastor and writer Roberts Liardon has returned to regular pulpit preaching. Liardon, who founded Embassy Christian Center in Irvine, Calif., 10 years ago, resumed Sunday morning preaching last month. Liardon confessed to a short-term homosexual relationship with the church's youth pastor, John Carrette, in December 2001.
Unmarried, Liardon, 37, has announced that he has a busy ministry schedule for the rest of the year, including stops in Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. In August, he is slated as the featured speaker at a conference his ministry will host at Embassy.
"The church, the school and Operation 500 will go on," Carol Liardon, his mother and Embassy's senior pastor, told Charisma News Service. Spirit Life Bible College, which has a campus in Irvine and two satellite locations, is part of Liardon's ministry. Operation 500 is Liardons' international missions organization effort.
After Liardon admitted moral failure, he submitted himself to counseling. Initially, El Paso, Texas pastor Charles Nieman advised Liardon, but Nieman told Charisma News Service that he is no longer involved. Liardon declined comment regarding the subject.
About one-quarter of Embassy members, as well as Bible college students and missionaries, have left the church since Liardon's admission. Sunday morning attendance, which once was more than 700, currently runs at about 100.
Initially, Larry Black, pastor of Embassy's satellite church in Bakersfield, Calif., stepped in as the Irvine church's pulpit preacher. However, the Liardon's Web site no longer lists Black or the Bakersfield congregation as affiliates.