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Jim Bolin, founding and senior pastor of Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs, Ga., has stepped down from his position due to "inappropriate consensual sexual conduct with an adult woman." Members of the charismatic-Pentecostal church, which claims a congregation of 7,000 people, were informed on Sunday during an emotional, 90-minute service in which church officials explained the immediate future plans of the church while remaining vague in describing Bolin's falling.

Donald M. Walker, the state administrative bishop for the Church of God (Cleveland), tearfully read a letter from Bolin that began: "I have sinned against God." In his writing, the founding pastor took "full responsibility and blame" for his actions but provided no additional details. "Today you see what a wrong choice has caused," Bolin wrote. "Please learn from this."

The 56-year-old Bolin has agreed to remain inactive in ministry throughout a two-year restoration process overseen by Church of God officials. In his place, Bolin's 32-year-old son, Jason, who is the church's executive pastor, will serve as senior pastor.

"I think the church will be stronger than ever," said one member of the congregation, which gave several standing ovations to show its support for Walker and Jason Bolin, and its forgiveness of the founding pastor. "Jim Bolin was my hero. But he is also human and I forgive him. It's been a tough week, but it's over. There's a new week ahead." [ajc.com, 12/14/08]

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