Exodus International, a 37-year-old Christian ministry focused on homosexuality, closed its doors Thursday, one day after its president apologised for its programs aimed at “curing” gay people through prayer and therapy.
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honouring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers wrote on the group’s website Wednesday that he wanted to apologise “to the gay community for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organisation and the church as a whole.”
He said the group would create a new ministry that would work with other churches to create “safe, welcoming and mutually transforming communities.”
Tom Moore, a member of the board of directors who voted Thursday to shut down the Orlando-based ministry, said, “We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change — and they want to be heard.”
The organisation, founded in 1976, claims 270 local ministries worldwide with a stated mission: “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”
Chambers, who is married and has two adopted children, indicated that the apology was particularly personal because “I conveniently omitted my on-going same-sex attractions.”
“I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today,” he wrote. “They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. … Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there.”