Central Pa. church to continue “gay therapy” despite Exodus International shutdown

The shutdown of Exodus International, a controversial organization which claimed to help gay Christians become straight, will not stop similar work from continuing in Central Pennsylvania.

Exodus International has been around for 37 years and now the group’s president, Alan Chambers, has issued a public apology to anyone who has been harmed by its methods.

“Please know that I am deeply sorry. I’m sorry for the pain and the hurt that many of you have experienced. I’m sorry that some of you spent years working through shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change,” Chambers told a group of former Exodus members in a clip on OWN TV.

The news of Exodus’ closure was surprising to John Nesbitt, executive pastor of the West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Monroe Township, Cumberland County. The church’s Free! ministry has been affiliated with Exodus and its methods since 1986.

“We have no reason not to continue Free! ministry here and it’s not dependent on Exodus International,” Nesbitt said.

On the church’s website, the Free! ministry is described as providing “consultation for those who wish to stop their same-sex attractions.”

“The way I act, the way I behave is a choice,” Nesbitt said. “And so this exists to help people completely voluntarily, who want to deal with that particular area of their life.”

Louie Marven, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Central Pa said Exodus’ shutdown is a good thing, but he hopes the local Free! ministry and others will also work to adopt a different approach towards the LGBT community.

“It’s not necessarily about theological right or wrong, or good or evil,” Marven said. “It’s about how we can create more positive, safer communities for everyone to feel accepted.”

The former board members of Exodus International have now formed a new ministry called “Reduce Fear.”

They say their goals are to “come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming and mutually transforming communities.”

Read Chambers’ apology letter here.

11 comments

  • Shayn Roby

    Reblogged this on shaynroby and commented:
    Louie Marven, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Central Pa said , “It’s not necessarily about theological right or wrong, or good or evil…It’s about how we can create more positive, safer communities for everyone to feel accepted.” Ummm…Louie, it’s a CHURCH, and God’s Holy Word in Romans 1:26-28 says, 26″ Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. ” If a church is interested in actually FOLLOWING THE WORD OF GOD, which is the whole purpose of the church to begin with, then it IS about theological right or wrong, good or evil.

    • Joe

      When it uses psychological methods to trap and hold members. If the offering is not accepted, the "therapy" will stop. I don't see a captive audience.

      • MyTakeOnIt

        Then the voluntary gay participants appear to be as dumb as the organization that wishes to change them.

        • Joe

          Not unless they have a gun to your head. Ignore religion, a deity, and anything else spiritual and you'll feel better. Those who choose to participate in religion ought to be left alone.

  • uhavnoclu

    In the way you judge another, you judge yourself. The way you talk about another says more
    about yourself than about the other. Free yourself from your own prejudices before you judge
    someone else. Only then, when you have no more prejudices, can you see clearly and not
    judge any longer. Refute your own ideas first, before you try to refute the ideas of others. Do
    not condemn the still-sleeping, but realize you were also asleep before you awoke.
    Jesus said: The Pharisees and the scribes have received the keys of knowledge; they
    have hidden them. They did not go in, and those who wanted to go in they did not allow.
    But you be ye wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
    Your spiritual leaders and theologians do not understand themselves and yet they call
    themselves your leaders. They are stray leaders, who turned the straight and simple path into a
    wandering. They think they hold the truth, but it is only their own truth. They could have
    known, but they go to rack and ruin because of their own vanity, and drag you along. They do
    not live a real life, and prevent you from living. However, you have to be smarter than they
    are. Let them talk and play their game for the time being.

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