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News / Churches & Religion

Ex-pastor John Bishop returns to Vancouver to publicly confess, apologize

‘I want to say words that are seven years overdue,’ he says in announcement

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 18, 2023, 2:10pm

John Bishop — the disgraced former pastor who founded Living Hope Church in Vancouver and later served three years in federal prison for smuggling drugs into the country — is returning to Vancouver to give his first sermon in seven years.

Bishop will preach at The Lord’s Gym Vancouver at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

“I want to first of all say what I was never allowed to say, which is to publicly confess and say I am sorry to so many people I have hurt because of my sinful and irresponsible choices,” Bishop said in a Facebook announcement. “I love you all so very much, and before I speak I want to say words that are seven years overdue.”

Bishop founded Living Hope Church in 1996. Over the following 20 years, the organization grew to the point that hundreds of people would line up to get baptized. One former attendee called Living Hope Church “the Disneyland of churches” at the time.

In 2015, Bishop was ousted from the church following allegations of immoral behavior, such as alcohol abuse and infidelity.

Two years later, authorities arrested Bishop for attempting to smuggle nearly 300 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Mexico. In late 2018, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison. He was released two years early in 2021.

“God never gives up on us, even when we give up on ourselves,” Bishop wrote in the announcement. “He meets us where we are to restore us and grow us. He knows you best and loves you most.”

Bishop’s Facebook page states he lives in Yuma, Ariz.

Columbian staff writer