'Gay cure' church closes as leader comes out of the vestry
A Christian ministry that offered to help gay people "overcome" their sexuality through prayer has shut down – after its leader admitted that he was attracted to men.
Exodus International, a group of 260 churches based in Florida, was until now the largest so-called "ex-gay" ministry in the US.
Its closure was announced on its website this week, as the group's annual conference began in Irvine, California.
It followed an extended apology from Exodus president Alan Chambers for the "hurt" its work had caused to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Mr Chambers also said he had "conveniently omitted (his) ongoing same-sex attractions" for several years and was sorry for the trauma that he had caused to other homosexual people.
He added: "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a world view that's neither honouring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."
Gay rights activists applauded Mr Chambers's apology and the closure of Exodus.
Evan Hurst, Associate Director of the Truth Wins Out group, an organisation that monitors anti-LGBT groups, said: "It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organisation's work, and to take real, concrete action to begin to repair that damage."
Other ex-gay Christian ministries were not so forgiving. The chairman of the Restored Hope Network, Andrew Comiskey – and who is the author of several books including 'Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual' – tweeted: "How merciful of God to shut down Exodus, which under Alan Chambers's leadership had completely veered off the course of its mission." (© Independent News Service)