Monday, May 12, 2008

A CHICAGO PREACHER TO GET YOUR MIND OFF JEREMIAH WRIGHT

CHICAGO TRIBUNE - Days after their pastor was arrested in an undercover prostitution sting, members of his Hinsdale church gathered Sunday to pray and begin planning a new future for the congregation that Rev. Phillip Haltom helped create. The sermon at Trinity Presbyterian Church focused on forgiveness, an act that several church members said now had renewed, real-life meaning. Many of the congregation's 125 members brought food and home-baked goods to Haltom and his family, church leaders said. And while Haltom's missteps were not mentioned directly and he was not there, the themes of sin, repentance and atonement rang through the service. "People are reeling and people are hurt. But at the same time, there's a real sense of concern. . . . Everybody loves him," said Rev. Ted Powers, who led the weekly service in Haltom's stead. Haltom, 52, of the 900 block of Oakwood Terrace in Hinsdale was one of five men snared in an online prostitution bust last week. An undercover female officer posted an ad offering sex on the Craigslist Web site last month. Haltom allegedly responded, and when he arrived at the agreed location, he was arrested without incident, according to police in St. Charles, where the arrests occurred.

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