Sydney - "Council goes straight for the throat of 'anti-gay' group"

  Page: 1

Youth Coordinator
Joined in 2008
May 11, 2010, 23:35

Council goes straight for the throat of ‘anti-gay’ group

By Vikki Campion, The Daily Telegraph, May 11, 2010

A CHURCH group that allegedly targets young people with same-sex conversion therapy could be banned from a council-owned Surry Hills neighbourhood centre.

However, removing them could leave City of Sydney accused of discrimination.

Evangelism Ministries, an arm of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, holds a monthly booking with the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre.

Last night, angry councillors at a City of Sydney Council meeting claimed “straightening out” the gay and lesbian community was the group’s objective.

Legal advice to the City of Sydney warned it could be acting in a manner “that could leave it open to allegations of discrimination if it acted to exclude Evangelism Ministries from the hall”.

Outraged councillors said the religious group could: “Bring it on.”

“There is distinct discrimination against gay people,” Councillor Irene Doutney said.

Rangers had moved on preachers distributing homophobic material in the past and this was no different, Councillor Shayne Mallard said.

Councillor Chris Harris said it was vital the council held a thorough investigation into the group’s activities.

The Evangelism Ministries could not be contacted last night.

To see the full article go to:

What are your thoughts??

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 12, 2010, 11:58

in my usual fashion of bridge building and creating dialogue a meeting is being arranged with the church leader next week along with other ministers in the area who are supporters of freedom 2 b[e[.

Will let you all know how it goes.

Here is the article that begin this stir

Joined in 2009
May 20, 2010, 22:28

Firstly I disagree with the Legal advice that was given to the City of Sydney:

that could leave it open to allegations of discrimination if it acted to exclude Evangelism Ministries from the hall”.

The Evangelical group does not hold any legal obligation to operate if its objective is to discriminate a minority group i.e. LGBT community and promoting slanderous contents that clearly is harmful to the community and unscientifically based, I think the Council have the Legal grounds to assure any group that uses the hall will assure the community that no harm (long term or direct) would be done to the community, and no slanderous materials to be distributed within the group.

Having said that, I think dialogue is an important issue, as well as education to the church’s leaders. I believe that religious faith and the LGBT community can talk together, and work together :). So I totally support Anthony’s approach of dialogue.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 21, 2010, 10:08

Had a great three hour meeting with Toby and another guy from his church…….I was able to help them with a greater understanding of sexual orientation….and de-construct some myths about our community.

Sydney people might get to meet Toby soon personally.

the group starting the church was not running ex-gay programs or intended to……

They are welcoming but not affirming…… this stage.

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
May 21, 2010, 12:05

Well done, Ambassador Anthony.

Not wanting to be spooky or unduly spiritualize it, but often the old devil seems to shoot himself in the foot.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 21, 2010, 16:46

news from last weeks SX

follow up story in next edition

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
May 31, 2010, 16:00

latest update

Church group denies ‘ex-gay’ therapy

Written by Brendan Bolger | 31 May 2010

The bishop of Evangelism Ministries has written to Sydney City Council to “clarify” that its Christian group is not “one which targets young people with same-sex conversion therapy or aversion therapy” to ‘cure’ their homosexuality.

Council is investigating the nature of the Christian group’s meetings at the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, which was also addressed in the letter, after concerns were raised that the group was conducting sexuality aversion therapy.

“Such suggestions are false and mischievous. This is not the basis of the group nor has it even been mentioned in its meetings,” Bishop Alan Stewart wrote.

“There is no intention to conduct such ‘therapy’ and it is regrettable that Council has been misled into thinking there is such an intention,” he wrote in the carefully worded letter that does not directly implicate Evangelism Ministries and its practices with the Christian group.

However, questions remain about how Evangelism Ministries, a “department within the Anglican diocese” that encourages “evangelistic church planting across the Sydney diocese”, deals with homosexual members of its churches.

Its website has links on the sexuality question that are directed to which quotes numerous “adapted” Genesis and Romans verses from the bible.

“By natural I do not mean according to nature but according to God’s created order and purpose. He created humanity in his image as male and female in heterosexual relationship. Anything else is ‘unnatural,” according to an adapted Romans verse.

“Sexual sin is condemned by God not because it is unloving but because it does not conform to his design and purpose.

“Thus a monogamous, loving, long term homosexual relationship is still a sinful relationship,” it is stated on the web site linked from Evangelism Ministries.

Stewart did not respond to questions from SX about his stance on homosexuality, what is expected of student ministers in response to homosexuals or whether Evangelism Ministries is a proponent of ‘ex-gay’ therapy.

Anthony Venn-Brown, co-founder of Freedom 2 b[e] – a network of LGBT people from Charismatic and Pentecostal backgrounds – met earlier this month for three hours with student minister Toby Neal, who runs the Christian group’s meetings, resulting in a “very productive conversation”.

“My impression is that he is a very sincere man who wants to make a difference in the world with his Christian belief system.

“I think as they begin to engage with our community some of their perceptions will begin to alter,” Venn-Brown said.

Neal said until the meeting with Venn-Brown he “did not even know” what ‘ex-gay’ therapy was.

He told SX his goal was to “start a church in Surry Hills” and while there may be “differences of opinion with some things” between Freedom 2 b[e] and himself, there is room “for friendship and to journey together as Christians”.

The meetings at the SHNC consist of about 15 people “to read the bible and talk about the teachings of Jesus”.

“That’s all we’ve done and all we will be doing,” Neal said.

Meanhile, Sydney City councillor Shayne Mallard told Council, which is continuing its investigations, that sexuality aversion therapy is the main focus of Evangelism Ministries, according to Sydney Central magazine.

Mallard told Council that sexuality aversion therapy was often coercive and left young people scarred for life, according to the report.

  Page: 1
WP Forum Server by ForumPress | LucidCrew
Version: 99.9; Page loaded in: 0.108 seconds.