Rizzo resigns as Healing Place pastor; Rumors of Affair Surface

Dino Rizzo, pastor of Healing Place Church, is taking a sabbatical. Rumors have circulating since late July on Louisiana message boards that this was caused an affair he was having with a 25 year old church intern. What’s worse is, the church board allegedly paid the young woman to move back to her home state, which was not originally Louisiana to cover it up.

Author’s note: For most recent updates, scroll to the bottom.

In July, it was reported that mega church pastor Dino Rizzo was going on a sabbatical.

According to The Advocate, Dino Rizzo, lead pastor and founder of Healing Place Church announced Sunday that he and his wife are leaving the church.

“We feel it is best that we step down as pastors today,” Dino Rizzo told several thousand church members gathered in the spacious arena sanctuary during the first of two Sunday morning services.

“Two months ago,” Rizzo said, “I let my spirit, soul and body get depleted and did not make good choices as a dad, as a husband, as a leader.”

Dino is also quoted as saying he stepped down voluntarily, which contradicts reports that a newly established church board had asked him to step down. On July 25, 2012, the following was reported by news channel WAFB,

The church issued a statement Tuesday saying that the Healing Place spirituality board determined that Rizzo needed the sabbatical.

The church statement says Rizzo has “humbly and willingly embraced the board’s plan.”

The Advocate quoted long-standing church member Brian McCollister who suggests the public take this resignation as face value.

“There will be tons of rumors circulating, but it’s none of anybody’s business,” McCollister said. “My heart is broken for them and their family. God can see the end from the beginning and this was no surprise to him. The decision they made was between them and God.”

However, rumors have circulating since late July on Louisiana message boards that Rizzo was having an affair with a former intern. What’s worse is, the church board allegedly paid the young woman to move back to her home state to cover the incident up, which was not originally Louisiana, according to sources.

Commenter “RedStickNative” shares sentiments with those on the message boards:

The article plainly says “Two months ago,” Rizzo said, “I let my spirit, soul and body get depleted and did not make good choices as a dad, as a husband, as a leader.” There is little doubt this pastor is running from a heinous scandal if facts were made public. What these men want is power and easy money and they are no different than any con man anywhere preying on the weak and guillable. Their product is invisible and the payoff is promised to come after you die and can’t get your money back. FYI that’s my opinion and you obviously don’t have to agree but this sort of thing happens all over the country all the time.

According to local sources, it seems RedStickNative has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Could this be just another Jim Bakker/Jessica Hahn story?

 

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An Email from a Dino Rizzo Fan

I read your blog about Dino Rizzos return to ministry. Unfortunately part of his first message back in ministry was completely about you!   He speaks of the older brother in the story of the prodigal son and how he becomes jealous. When I ran across your blog my first thought was “wow. The prodigal sons older brother actually has a blog”   I’m sorry you feel the way you do and I pray you find and experience Gods grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a real way so that you can return it to people who fall, but are willing to start fresh. It’s by NO MEANS your place to judge the transformation or question Gods redeeming love and restoration on anyone’s life. The hate you spew through your blog …it saddens me to see and I do pray that the same judgement you pass on people doesn’t come back to you. Instead of judging you should rejoice with a fellow Christian who has “returned to the father!” Have a blessed day!

–Brianna Hopkins

So, I’m a jealous older brother or something? Good one. At least you can read, Brianna. You have a BLESSED day, sister. Praise him!

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More on the Dino Rizzo affair and resignation: 

Healing Place Pastor Founder Resigns; Affair Cover Up Suspected

Rizzo Resigns As Healing Place Pastor; Rumors Of Affair Surface

Dino Rizzo From Healing Place Church Puts His House Up For Sale

Megachurch Pastor Dino Rizzo Returns to Ministry After Affair

Here’s What People Are Saying About Dino Rizzo’s Affair Cover-Up

If you have more information on this story, please email: mycultlife AT gmail DOT com. All names will be kept confidential.

Letters to Nowhere: Tim Dilena, Dino Rizzo, Winkie Pratney

Two weeks ago, I sent the following letter to good friends and ministry partners of the pastor of Our Savior’s Church to see if they’d be able to speak with their friend to stop the abuse going on.

Not only did I NOT get a response from these pastors, one of them actually forwarded the letters to the pastor of Our Savior’s Church, who then read the letters to his staff. How awful, but totally expected.

Dear Dino, Tim and Winkie,
I’m writing on behalf of myself and many others who have been deeply hurt by the controlling pastoring that is taking place there, and the illegal employment issues that are taking place there.

I worked for Pastor Daniel Jones for a year as his wife’s personal assistant, which meant I nannied the children and homeschooled their son, as well as cleaned the house, cooked, ran errands, and was involved with the Women’s ministry and Master’s Commission. I was on staff with Master’s Commission 3D for years and was Nathan Davies’ right-hand girl (one of Daniel’s pastors at OSC and the Executive Director of Master’s Commission)–his Executive Assistant while he was Vice President of the Master’s Commission International Network. Nathan Davies is no longer the VP of the Master’s Commission International Network.

I’m attaching a letter that I sent to Daniel Jones, Nathan Davies, and Tim Wilson (who took over for Nathan for one year as MC Director). As you can see from the letter, OSC and MC3D are in serious trouble. They are abusing young people as slaves of the church and paying them less than 40 cents an hour! My story isn’t the only statement out there. I’ve gathered dozens more, and have collected numerous emails.

I have NEVER received an apology letter, phone call or any other sort of communication from Daniel, Nathan or Chris, as of the date of this email in regards to this letter I’m attaching and the issues I’ve addressed in said letter. I have used names in my blog, and I stand by that decision because I know that every fact I’ve shared on there is 100% verifiable by multiple sources, and I have given the aforementioned pastors plenty of chances to seek out dialogue with me. All three have denied the opportunity, ignored my peaceful outreach, and therefore, have shown great disrespect to me.

I’m asking you to read this letter and please do the following:

  1. Respond accordingly
  2. Talk to Daniel about the spiritual abuse.
  3. Encourage him that the ball is in his court to make amends with those he’s abused.
  4. Know that you are now partly responsible for the information I’m presenting to you.

Also, I’m aware that in some ways, you all are either good friends, mentors, or ministry partners with Daniel Jones. Because of this relationship, I feel I should hold each one of you responsible for what I’m sending you.

Now that you’ve read my letter, my blog (www.mycultlife.com) and the comments fellow ministers, church members, and MC staff members and students have left on the blog, I’m holding you responsible for what you’ve seen and heard in this email and in the others that are to come. I don’t feel this is too harsh a responsibility to ask a friend or ministry partner who does close ministry work with another pastor. If you would not like this responsibility, or if I have misplaced it on you, please notify me by email.

If you knew that spiritual abuse was taking place in a close friend’s church and remained silent, I’d be shocked. I’m very sure that none of you would overlook this. Hopefully, as friends, you can approach him in a way that he will receive. Otherwise, I will take further action.

I’d like a response to this email within a week. Please acknowledge that you received the email by July 30th, 2010.

With Respect,
Lisa

Mercy Ministries Anti-Gay Message; Archaic “Treatment”

Mercy Ministries runs a supposedly very successful “group home” or “treatment center” in various cities around the country and the world. They are an international success among some Christian believers which is why hundreds of women are on the waiting list (according to a Mercy insider).

However, just like many fundamentalist Christian groups Mercy has a very hateful message to lesbian young women who attend the program:

Being gay is a sin and could be a “root cause” of your mental disorder. 

As their website states:

The root cause, in a Christian program like Mercy is typically a manufactured sin that the program leaders and related ministers have concocted.

What exactly is a manufactured sin? Evangelical fringe leaders often teach ideologies that are damaging: like “purity” and “abstinence” programs, anti-gay messages which are similar to the 1950’s messages that being gay was a mental disorder.

 

I own a book that I picked up from a used bookstore in North Hollywood, CA called The Problem with Homosexuality by Charles Berg, M.D. and Clifford Allen, M.D. These were actual professionals in the late 50’s who literally believed homosexuality was a problem–much like Mercy Ministries does. Mercy doesn’t just believe being gay is a sin; but that it’s a “root cause” of something much deeper and much more problematic.

Mercy Ministries is part of the Evangelical movement that Joyce Meyer and Dave Ramsey are part of. If those ties don’t phase  you, we’ve got to look a bit closer. A few weeks ago, I noticed the Healing Place Church and Dino Rizzo on Nancy’s list of recommended ministries. There was also mention of (and a link to) Steve and Jennifer Robinson’s church and ministry. Interestingly enough, my own cult has ties to both of these pastors: Steve Robinson and Dino Rizzo. My former pastor, Daniel Jones, who I write about here is an abusive pastor. When I was beginning to find how to report the abuse, I reached out to Dino Rizzo hoping that he’d act as a liason and support the victims.

He did not.

After finding that correlation, I now know where Mercy stands in the Evangelical circle. I know the ideology, the teachings, the messages behind the sermons Nancy preaches. (Does anyone find it ODD that a “treatment center” would have  preacher for it’s founder, president and leader? No medical, organizational, or psychological qualifications here. She is not a social worker or even an activist for young women contrary to her “Christian” image.)

Mercy Ministries is just a sermon, it’s not help. Mercy brainwashes young women into “loving Jesus” and “bearing good fruit.” This is their coercive way of theologically “fighting” mental illness and eating disorders.

Anyone can tell you that eating disorders and mental illness do not get treated or solved by Jesus or a sermon. They require professional medical help. In fact, some professionals would argue that bringing young women into a center to claim treatment and denying them medical attention could be much more potent than just “wrong” or unethical.

However, if you operate on 1950’s medical and psychological ideas, which Mercy does, it’s understandable why girls would be taught that their disorders are their problem and they are to blame. This is unethical and even if Mercy claims they are not a medical facility, they are lying. According to survivors of this program, Mercy represented otherwise.

In the book The Problem of Homosexuality, the authors begin their argument by saying this:

homosexuality [is] an abomintion in the eyes of the Lord…

Now that statement isn’t what you would expect from a doctor is it? Nor is it what you’d expect from a “treatment center” like Mercy Ministries which promises young women that they will be cured.

Mercy’s residents weren’t all gay. In fact, many of the girls were straight and were reaching out to the program because they thought they would be getting legitimate care. However, those girls who were troubled with mental disorders or eating disorders and were gay, were accused of harboring “sin” which was the cause of their illness. Mercy was regurgitating the ideas about homosexuality from the 1950’s. Perhaps their “medical” treatment was just as outdated.

What I’m saying is that however archaic and hate-filled Mercy’s message is to young women, it’s completely abusive and psychologically destructive. This program needs to be shut down before a young woman dies from their maltreatment.

 

 

 

Dino Rizzo from Healing Place Church puts his house up for sale

Megachurch pastor Dino Rizzo resigned from Healing Place Church while rumors surfaced of an alleged affair. Now his house is up for sale.

In September, 2012, I broke the story of Dino Rizzo’s alleged affair which was covered up by his “sabbatical” speech. The church elders stuck to that story, too, until shit hit the fan and my blog exploded with over 5,000 shares of the article. Seeing that Dino’s church reports 8,000 members, my best guess is the (alleged) cat is out of the bag.

Thanks to Tiger Droppings, a Baton Rouge community forum, and user HBR, we’ve now learned that Dino Rizzo from HPC puts his house up for sale. See photos below, courtesy of user HBR and Tiger Droppings.

DR house 1
Dino Rizzo house kitchen Dino Rizzo house Dino Rizzo house Dino Rizzo house Dino Rizzo house dr house8

Dino Rizzo house sale

 

Related stories here:

Healing Place Pastor Founder Resigns; Affair Cover Up Suspected

Rizzo Resigns As Healing Place Pastor; Rumors Of Affair Surface

Megachurch Pastor Dino Rizzo Returns to Ministry After Affair

Here’s What People Are Saying About Dino Rizzo’s Affair Cover-Up

An Email from a Dino Rizzo Fan

If you have more information on this story, please email: tips@mycultlife.com. All emails and names will be kept confidential. We only publish tips that are verifiable and accurate.