Exodus for Australia’s Living Waters – updated*

 

Pic:gayambassador.blogspot.com.au

Anthony Venn-Brown blogs…

“Living Waters Australia (LWA), one of Australia’s foremost and longest running ex-gay/conversion therapy programs, closes this Saturday with a Thanksgiving Service. At the same time a vigil (#‎Vigil4Hope) is being held at Taylor Square, Sydney, to not only remember those who have taken their own lives because of ex-gay/conversion programs but also highlight the toll faith/sexuality conflict can have on gay and lesbian people.

The closure of LWA is significant and worth acknowledging in a public way which is what prompted the vigil. #‎Vigil4Hope 

Ex-gay/conversion groups like LWA have claimed to have helped people struggling with“unwanted same sex attraction” and they know of no one who has been harmed but we know this is not necessarily true.
 
Participants in these ‘change is possible’ programs are often emotionally and psychologically damaged. They left the program with a sense of failure. It can take years to work through the trauma, grief and the impacts of years of shame and self-loathing.

The actual toll of those who have taken their own life, because of faith/sexuality conflict, can never be determined for several reasons. One being there is no box to tick that says cause of death; faith/sexuality conflict. The secrecy and shame attached to homosexuality in evangelical circles are others. If you consider that for many of these people, the acceptance or rejection of their sexual orientation has enormous consequences, including their eternal destiny, you can begin to understand the intensity of their struggle.

The thirty minute gathering on Saturday night will focus on three things.

  1. Remember: Firstly a time to remember those we have lost. Lead by Anthony Venn-Brown former Assemblies of God minister, co-founder of Freedom2b and now the founder and CEO of Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International. 
  2. Encourage: Also to encourage others who are still struggling in this area and give them hope. Lead by Pastor Mike Hercock marriage equality advocate and founder of the 100Revs, a group of ministers who signed an apology to the LGBT community for the way the church had treated them and marched in 2008 Mardi Gras parade. He has been involved in a wide range of inner-city ministries involving the LGBT community. 
  3. Celebrate: And finally to celebrate the lives of those who have done the journey from gay shame to gay pride. Particularly ex-gay survivors. Lead by Rev Margaret Mayman, minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church. Margaret Mayman, was a prominent voice during the marriage equality debate and married Clare, her partner of 17 years, when same sex marriage was legalised in New Zealand. Rev Mayman feels for people who then often get a message that they have to choose between faith and sexuality. “It’s easier to give up your faith, because your sexuality is utterly core to who you are. I’ve met lots of people and heard lots of stories, and I think the important thing is that people get support and they’re not alone.”

You can RSVP on the Facebook event page and also use that to invite friends.

Date: Saturday 12 April 2014

Time: 7:00pm to 7:30pm

Place: Northern side of Taylor Square (next to the Oxford Hotel)

What to bring: Candle, torch, rainbow paraphernalia

What to wear: Something yellow if you can to represent hope for a better future

Who can come: All welcome including straight allies and supporters.

We recognise that many people would love to participate in this vigil however due to various locations, are unable to attend in person. We would like to invite others to participate where they are. Please use the ‪#‎Vigil4Hope‬ in your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook updates and pictures during the time that we are meeting at Taylor Square. If you feel comfortable perhaps even share why this vigil is important or has relevance to you. 

Together we can spread the word, the love, the encouragement and acceptance to so many across the world.

From http://gayambassador.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/A-vigil-as-Living-Waters-Australia-closes.html

 

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10 thoughts on “Exodus for Australia’s Living Waters – updated*

  1. Thanks Greg, I think that is a very hard question to answer, one that I don’t have an answer for. And the reason for that is because I think it involves matters from a diverse number of domains so as to speak. In biblical terms they include sarx (Greek for flesh blood and bone) sarkos (Greek for flesh nature) soma (Greek for body), psyche (Greek for soul), and pneuma (Greek for spirit) all of which have both their own stand-alone dynamics and inter-active dynamics as a group/s. Then in terms of the medical profession, there are trained experts who know a lot more about how to manage the “life-lived-on-the-earth” dynamics and how that slots into population management, than I could ever know about. The only thing I know, my curiosity notwithstanding, is that there are people on this earth who need understanding at the least, and careful ministrations at most, with liberal doses of being led by the Lord. What I don’t know is whether I am up to the commitment to walk-the-walk of ministrations 24/7, I suspect I can’t, but I would like to think I could help somewhere.

    But coming back to trying to answer the question, at the end of the day I think we all have the right to make choices (whatever they are) but also acknowledging that this right is shaped by numerous inputs including the right information and inputs from the highly regulated environment we all live in. Too many facts and inputs for me to give a yes/no answer – sorry.

    I think all I can do is to be led by the Lord to help in whatever way is appropriate to help people make choices, but even that is difficult when one considers what is “appropriate” and what is not by those who are decision makers. I also think that motivation by agape/philos love will at least approximate oneself in a position where one can help, or at least one can think about how they can muster the courage to help. As I said in an earlier post, this area seems to engender and initiate strong sentiments and for me I don’t feel offended, but I do feel I need to face up to what I think is a definite need for helping out. What happens next in terms of people making choices is between that person and the Lord. That last part of “what happens next” may sound like I am passing the buck, but I am not sure there is more that I can do unless I learn something new about this area.

    And finally, I don’t know really how to answer your question because I don’t know enough about all the matters involved, and probably won’t ever know enough to answer the question satisfactorily to you or myself. Cheers.

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  2. I’m sorry you have also taken offence to my being curious about how to minister to those of us who are troubled by same sex attraction, and are looking for a yet to be determined assistance. But I will never find out how I can help unless I ask, hence my curiosity. One thing is certain though and that is the subject of same-sex attraction seems to engender and initiate strong sentiments and I admit to being curious as to why people are so easily offended. And I hope those who are seeking assistance in this area don’t take offence. Like everyone else, I am selectively curious, but I am not curious about attending the births or deaths of people unless of course it is family and/or friends. Innocent curiosity notwithstanding doesn’t seem to have a place amongst the easily offended, but it won’t change me from being curious about those seeking assistance or about the world around us. I am not afraid of being curious, and I hope that is okay with you.

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  3. Do you attend AA meetings simply out of curiosity? I find your “curiosity” offensive as do I the whole Living Waters concept. Do you attend the births of babies of people you don’t know because you’re curious? Do you attend the death bed’s of people you don’t know simply to satisfy your longing to know? Dude – you’re curiosity is decidedly offensive

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  4. In the first instance I am curious. I don’t attend church but am acquainted with most of the church denominations of various types from seeing first hand how they operate, but have not attended a meeting of believers in and from this ministry group. In the second and subsequent instances I am curious, and won’t know or be the wiser until having first-hand experience of the way that ministry operates in this “genre” of believers, so to speak. I did send an email to the Living Waters dudes asking about this matter but got a fairly aggressive answer. This makes me more curious to find out whether or not they have some “exclusivity” about them or if they don’t like curious believers. But if being curious is offensive to them, then I am happy to let it go. It is not my place to judge them, or to judge anyone else, I am just curious to learn more about the world we live in. Cheers.

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  5. Could you tell me please if there is an equivalent ‘ex-gay’ ministry group operating in Hobart Tasmania? And, does one need to be an ex-gay to visit and/or attend their meetings? Cheers.

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