FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell has delivered a "state of the ministry" address, saying the bankrupt PTL television ministry has risen from scandal, immorality and financial impropriety but still needs millions before it can be saved.

Falwell, appearing on the "PTL Club" show Thursday, said the ministry had weathered "a long, hot summer," raising nearly $18 million of a $20 million goal set in May.

"Who would have believed on May 15, with summer ahead and the headlines reporting night after night PTL scandal, immorality, financial impropriety . . .," said Falwell, who gained control of the ministry in March amid a sex scandal involving founder Jim Bakker. "Who would have believed the ministry could have raised 20 dollars, much less 20 million."

Fund raising during the summer, traditionally a slow season for religious money-making efforts, was even slower because of publicity surrounding the scandal-plagued ministry, Falwell said.

"The most unbelievable things were being said day after day. We had the dissident partners and the march, the awful misbehaving antics of the marchers on July Fourth," said Falwell, who was chased from the Heritage Grand Hotel lobby by marchers July 4. "And Melvin Belli and all kinds of allegations and charges of a hostile takeover and the sale of the ministry to Coca-Cola."

Ministry officials cut operating expenses by nearly $2.5 million a month, including layoffs and salary cutbacks, Falwell said.

"We have no inordinate salaries now," he said. "We do have open financial accountability."

Falwell said the ministry needs more than $2 million by Labor Day weekend. "It's a big weekend for us, but it's going to be a bad weekend for us if we don't go the rest of the way, and the rest of the way is slightly more than $2 million," he said.

In the meantime, a Falwell spokesman said PTL officials are skeptical about a proposed nationwide tour by PTL founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, but officials don't believe the publicity will affect the recovery of the bankrupt television ministry.

"I don't know how long ago they said they'd be back on television in 30 days," said Falwell spokesman Mark DeMoss. "But it's been longer than that."

"You could list dozens of those types of disruptions over the past five months and yet the organization continues to be making progress," DeMoss said. "People continue to support it."

Tammy Faye Bakker, in Nashville to record an album Wednesday, told an interviewer with WSM Radio that she and her husband would return to television evangelism.

"We'll definitely be going back on TV. The only problem is we don't know the timing right now," she said. "We've had offers all over the country.

"I think before we go back on TV we'll probably be going on a tour all over the United States. We're looking forward to getting out and being with the people again," she said.

Also Thursday, attorneys for PTL petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to reject a contract it signed in April 1984 with Brock Hotel Corp. to manage the Heritage Grand Hotel, Heritage Inn, chalets, bunkhouses and campgrounds.

PTL said Brock is paid a fee before costs of operation on the basis of occupied rooms. Many rooms are occupied by lifetime partners for which PTL receives no income but has to pay Brock anyway.

PTL said it can manage the facilities with its own staff already in place at no additional expense and with no impairment of services to the partners and guests.

Brock's fees for the past fiscal year were $372,476 plus $48,790 for accounting services.

"The contract has no value to and is burdensome to . . . PTL," PTL said in court documents. PTL said rejecting the contract is in its best interest and will result in savings of about $421,266.

Under the bankruptcy code, PTL has the option of rejecting or assuming contracts it negotiated prior to filing for Chapter 11 protection.

Bankruptcy Court Judge Rufus Reynolds has told PTL he is interested in seeing the ministry reduce its operational costs.

The motion was filed by PTL attorney Walter Theus of Columbia, S.C.

In other action, a PTL lifetime partners committee appointed July 29 is asking the court to authorize it to purchase liability insurance at PTL expense.

Committee attorney David H. Conaway of Charlotte said in a court petition that the committee "will make a substantial contribution to this reorganization proceeding" and represents approximately 114,000 to 120,000 lifetime partners "whose interest in connection with this proceeding may vary significantly."

Meanwhile, evangelist Oral Roberts apologized to the Assemblies of God and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart for remarks Roberts made early in the PTL scandal.

"I said critical words. I did not know about the finances. I blamed Jimmy Swaggart for things he said at the time that I did not understand," Roberts said Thursday on Cable News Network's "Larry King Live." "I feel a deep regard for Mr. Swaggart."

Roberts came to the Bakkers' defense when allegations against them were revealed, saying on March 24 that a "very prominent and beloved minister" and "one of the nation's great religious denominations" had formed an "unholy alliance" to destroy Bakker.

Although Roberts did not name either Swaggart or the Assemblies of God, it was clear he was referring to Swaggart, who Bakker had said was trying to take over the PTL ministry.

Roberts said he made his comments before he found out about the large salaries the Bakkers received from PTL.

In March, Roberts said, he believed Bakker's one-time affair should be forgiven.

"But then, long about the end of April, I believe, came the stories about Jim receiving the $1 million and I-don't-know-how-many hundreds of thousands of dollars salary and Tammy getting half a million. I called Jim on the phone and asked him if it was true," Roberts said.

Roberts said Bakker told him, "Oral, I earned it."

"I said, 'Jim, that's not the point. Adultery is bad enough, but this will destroy it {the PTL ministry},' " Roberts said.

"I told him that he received in one year more than I have in over 20 years," Roberts said.

Roberts, who has said before that his income would not be disclosed until after his death, said he received $56,000 a year as president of Oral Roberts University, and "with my wife Evelyn some $42,000 from the Evangelistic Association."