Category : Press Releases

  • You are here
  • Home
  • Archive by category "Press Releases"

PRESS RELEASE FROM HOPE FOR WHOLENESS NETWORK

McKrae Game, former Director of Hope for Wholeness Network (HFWN) has recently come out as gay and has made statements about his discontinued employment with HFW and about the use of “reparative” and/or “conversion” therapy being used by Hope for Wholeness Network. It has also been reported that McKrae Game is a licensed therapist. We want to clarify some inaccuracies and share from our perspective.

McKrae Game is not a licensed therapist and has no degree in counseling.

The former director also stated that he was suddenly fired. That is inaccurate. The board of HFW walked with McKrae for over a year concerning issues that led to his resignation nearly two years ago. These issues were brought up and a plan for correcting them was put in place. When those issues were not resolved, the board of HFWN asked for McKrae Game’s resignation.

His separation from the network was not an impulsive decision, but was decided after a full year of unresolved problems. This decision was one of the most difficult and painful we have ever made as a board.

As to the practice of “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, HFWN and our affiliated ministries do not endorse or practice “conversion” or “reparative” therapies. Most ministry leaders are not licensed therapists. We disciple individuals who are conflicted about their sexuality in regards to their faith. We utilize faith-based groups and pastoral discipleship to address issues from the individuals’ past and help them reconcile their faith and sexuality. We never use coercion, shaming, nudity, touch therapies with any individual who might come to our affiliate ministries. We believe in, and respect, the self-determination of the individual and the path that each has chosen. We invite you to read our policy statements on “conversion” and/or “reparative” therapy at our Policy Statements page on our website.

In conclusion, the board of HFWN deeply loves McKrae Game. We have no animosity toward him. We pray for him and his family and will continue to do so.

  • Local Woman, 70 “God Helped Her Overcome Homosexuality”

Local Woman, 70 “God Helped Her Overcome Homosexuality”

By Lynn Davidson of The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, GA (September 04, 2011) – Elsie Odom has a stranger in her closet. But the two are well-acquainted.

Odom, now 70, was a lesbian for many years before she learned what she calls “the truth.” These days, Odom uses that stranger’s experiences to help others who are unhappy in the homosexual lifestyle.
“(From the age of 14 to 47) I struggled with it. And in 1988, God set me free. I’ve had no desires since then – none whatsoever. And it has nothing to do with my age,” she said. “I don’t even know who that person was anymore.”

Dressed in a pretty green dress with lavender floral print, matching lavender beaded necklace and dainty white sandals, Odom looks like a traditional Southern grandmother who sits on the third row of church every Sunday and hosts the garden club on Monday.

But the women of her childhood had a vastly different influence.

“I lived in a very dysfunctional family,” she said. “My parents didn’t show love because they didn’t know how. They were alcoholics.”
Because of the alcoholism, Odom said she was isolated from her peers, ashamed and bashful. Her childhood also included several traumatic experiences of molestation from extended family members, both male and female. Odom said she feels the childhood experiences caused her to reject her femininity.
Dr. Lionel Solursh, a professor of psychiatry and health behavior at Georgia Health Sciences University, said that is one reaction to childhood sexual abuse.
“If you’re afraid of sexual experiences, or mistrustful, the one thing you do is back off from intimacy because it feels dangerous,” Solursh said.
Solursh said a therapist in a case similar to Odom’s would work with the patient to cope with their trauma history so they would be able to have relationships. However, he cautioned that each individual is different, and Odom’s situation cannot be applied to all homosexuals.

“We look at individual factors,” he said. “Each person deserves the respect of being seen and treated as an individual.”

But Odom knew nothing of therapy when she was young.

Puberty came along, and Odom said she was sexually attracted to other girls, which confused her.

“Eventually, I went with them,” she said. “I was dating guys, but also acted out those feelings with girls.”

One day, she went on a blind date with a young man, and he proposed.

“So, I thought I could get married, and that’d fix things,” Odom said, saying that she told her fiancé about her homosexuality before they married. “I tried very hard to make the marriage work.”

Several years later, going through divorce and losing a child custody battle was more than Odom could bear.

“In order to cover the pain, I lived a hellish life,” she said. “I tried to heal my pain with alcohol and drugs, and I actually became an alcoholic. And I was looking for love in all the wrong places.”

She found it in a relationship with another woman. The two ended up living together for 14 years, first posing as roommates, then in an openly lesbian relationship.

“We started going to gay bars and parties, and were accepted into the gay community,” she said. “We felt fulfilled with this new family we’d found.”

When Odom’s partner gave the ultimatum that she needed to deal with her alcoholism, Odom started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

At the meetings, she found deliverance from her alcoholism. Because some steps of the AA program suggest looking to a higher power, Odom’s partner bought her a Bible.

When she read the Bible, Odom said she learned that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

That was something Odom had never heard before, and as a result, Odom and her partner began looking for a church. After several failed attempts, they found one.

“When we walked in the door, we felt the love of God, and we both needed that,” Odom said. “From that day on, every time the doors opened, we were there.”

In church, Odom heard other new things she’d never known.

“I began to hear that God is not mad. He will take the rubbish of your life and make stepping stones to His destiny,” Odom said.

Claiming that the Holy Spirit separated her and her partner both emotionally and physically, Odom said she took up a celibate lifestyle, which she has kept for 23 years.

“But if God wants to bring me a husband, I will accept him,” she said with a smile.

Solursh said it’s possible that someone who is not happy with homosexuality, or who left the lifestyle, was never actually gay.

“We are not talking about a disease or a disorder. We are talking about behavior,” he said. “I know a lot of happy gay folks.”

For patients who are not happy, Solursh said a therapist works with them to help them manage their feelings and make them comfortable.

“But, if somebody is gay and happy, then he’s happy,” he said.

Odom said she wants to help people who are unhappy like she was. In April 2010, she founded a ministry called Straight Forward, which is a referral ministry of Hope for Wholeness – a nondenominational faith-based organization whose mission is to help people who want to be free of same-sex attractions.

“I have a burden in my heart,” Odom said. “I want others who are struggling to know there is hope for them.”

Contact
Elsie Odom
Director of StraightForward Ministries
706-840-2227
E-mail: eodom@hopeforwholeness.org

Hope is Spreading A Ministry Update

SPARTANBURG, SC (July 15, 2011) – For three years, Hope For Wholeness has been a daily activity around here. These three years prepared us for the day of beginning, much like a runner trains for a race for a long period of time. We had to alter many of the things we did on a daily basis in our office to make accommodations, but the sacrifices were worth being able to reach people in unreached areas around the world with the news of freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ.

Since the launch date, we have gotten many orders from churches and Exodus ministries around the country. Hope is spreading to Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, California, Florida, and beyond. However, we have not heard from many of our readers. Frankly, this project has been a huge drain on us financially. As you can imagine, the current recession in our country causes ministries like ours to struggle financially. However, instead of focusing on our need, we want to emphasize what we have to offer. You can help us get the word out that Hope for Wholeness is available.

First, you could send in a gift to help us during this time. Please prayerfully consider what you can do. Second, get a copy of HFW for yourself, or for a friend, family member, or your church. The card included will help you with this. Lastly, be sure to visit our updated website at www.hopeforwholeness.com and talk about it to as many people as you can. Visit our Facebook page via the link on the website and “Like” us on Facebook. Also, tell your friends by email or by an old-fashioned ways of communication. However you choose to share, we really need your help to get the word out. We are counting on you.

Albert Mohler: Homosexuality Comments reflect Scripture

Albert Mohler’s follow-up comments to SBC Convention

LOUISVILLE, KY (June 24, 2011) – Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. says comments he made about homosexuality at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting reflect biblical teaching, and his remarks are receiving support from two prominent evangelical leaders who minister to the homosexual community.

In his June 15 comments at the SBC meeting, Mohler — president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. — said Christians have “not done well on this issue,” have told only “half the truth” regarding homosexuality and have practiced a “certain form of homophobia.” He went on to say it’s “clear that it’s more than a choice” and is “not something that people can just turn on and turn off.” He also was clear in calling homosexuality a sin.

“We are not a Gospel people unless we understand that only the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality,” Mohler told messengers.

The three-plus minute answer — in response to a question by Georgia messenger Peter Lumpkins — has received support from Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, and from Bob Stith, the Southern Baptist Convention’s national strategist for gender issues and the representative of the convention’s Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals.

But Mohler’s comments were called confusing in some circles, with others saying they wondered if he had changed his beliefs.

Youtube video

Apple Suppresses Diversity by Pulling iPhone App

from Exodus International Press Office

ORLANDO, FL (March 25, 2011) – Last night, Apple removed an application submitted by Exodus International, a global Christian ministry helping those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to live a life congruent with biblical teaching. Apple told the ministry’s web developer that they deemed the app “offensive to large groups of people” and removed it. Exodus is encouraging people to contact Apple and ask them to recognize the diversity of beliefs within its customer base.

Apple originally approved the app which provided mobile access to the information available on the ministry’s web site and gave it 4+ rating, but pulled it after gay activist groups launched a petition to remove it. It now appears that the multinational corporation has caved, yet again, to their pressure. In November, Apple removed the application submitted by The Manhattan Declaration, a group of Christian leaders who support biblical teaching on marriage, as a result of pressure from the same gay activist groups.

“We are extremely disappointed to learn of Apple’s decision to deny equal representation in the public square,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. “Discrimination of thought and belief obstructs essential dialogue and authentic diversity,” said Chambers noting that Apple provides hundreds of apps specific to the GLBT community and has made the Gay Christian Network’s podcasts available on its iTunes store.

“Ultimately, this issue comes down to what we, as a culture, believe about equality and the freedom to express our beliefs,” said Chambers. “It is our hope that Apple will reconsider its decision and allow our organization to be part of the ongoing conversation about the challenging issues many face today.”

Exodus Releases iPhone App

SPARTANBURG, SC (March 18, 2011) – Exodus International has released its new smartphone application now available through iTunes!  Receiving a 4+ rating from Apple (applications in this category contain no objectionable material), this application is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders.  With this app, you will find access to:

Latest News
Twitter
Facebook
Real Stories
Real Answers
FAQs
Student Blog
Podcasts
Fact Sheet
Find Help
Featured Resource
Events
Video
Responding to Bullying

FB promises to "end hate speech and anti-gay bullying on the Internet", a growing path toward censorship

Facebook Doesn’t Get Mad, It Gets GLAAD

FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL (October 22, 2010) – If there were a status update for Facebook’s entire site, it might say something like, “Jumping on the politically correct bandwagon.” Last week, the social media giant officially friended the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to “end hate speech and anti-gay bullying” on the Internet. The new partnership, which made a splash in the mainstream news, is significant because it puts Facebook on the media’s growing path toward censorship. Apparently, anything they construed to be anti-homosexual will be stripped from the site. Where does that leave Americans who morally oppose the lifestyle and want to help people find freedom from it?

FRC and other conservatives may soon find out. According to CNN, the world’s biggest social networking hub will be trolling its pages for violators. “And this isn’t just routine… policing, either,” the reporter cautions. GLAAD will see to that. In a press release about the alliance, the organization is urging liberals to take an active role in shutting down speech. “Our community needs to continue to be vigilant and report instances of hateful comments and images across the site to Facebook moderators as well as post messages of support for gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.”

It may happen slowly, but I guarantee that Facebook will begin to broaden its definition of what’s “hateful” based on GLAAD’s prior actions. Will GLAAD pressure Facebook, as it did the Washington Post, to purge any research about the risks of homosexuality? Will discussions about biblical faith suddenly be considered harassment? And, more importantly, will these standards be applied across the board? The Daily Caller thinks not. In a great post yesterday, Caroline May talks about the site’s hypocrisy. “… [N]ot all threatening language is created equal, apparently,” she writes. “Among Facebook’s many online communities are groups such as ‘I Hate Rush Limbaugh,’ ‘I Can’t Wait for Rush Limbaugh to Die,’ and ‘Rush Limbaugh Should Die Slowly.’ … In an email to The Daily Caller, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes did his best to explain why language criticizing homosexuality is hateful and will be censored, while calls for Rush Limbaugh’s slow death are legitimate and allowed.”

But, like the whole “hate crimes” debate, this isn’t about protecting homosexuals. It’s about an orchestrated effort to force Americans into accepting their behavior. If it weren’t, Facebook would have seen through this partnership with GLAAD for the unnecessary publicity stunt that it is. After all, the site already warned users that it wouldn’t tolerate obscene personal attacks–long before Tyler Clementi’s tragic death. Teaming up with GLAAD just shows Facebook’s cowardice. Like the mainstream media, they’re succumbing to pressure to silence free speech. GLAAD is establishing itself as an organization that wants to censor any opposition to its radical agenda. Last week, it tried to intimidate the Washington Post into blacklisting me from the paper because of an op-ed I wrote about the dangers of homosexuality. This is how they define “hateful.” You can read my column on FRC’s Facebook page… at least for now.


Christian Song Artist Jennifer Knapp Declares Gay

Responding to Jennifer Knapp’s “Coming Out”

EXODUS INTERNATIONAL–ORLANDO, FL (April 20, 2010)
by Randy Thomas, Exodus’ Executive Vice President

As you all are probably aware, Jennifer Knapp stated last week that she has embraced her same sex attraction and is now identifying as gay.  She has done a number of interviews including this one with Christian Today.  From the article (Article In Italics):

Now, the finished product (her new album), titled Letting Go, is slated for a May 11 release and will be the first test of her fans’ loyalty given confirmation of her sexuality.

While the decision to “come out” one month before her new album’s release is a risky one, The Advocate said Knapp chose to do so partly because she didn’t want people to love her music and then discover that their own values won’t let them sing along full-throated.

“I think it’s going to be shocking and feel like a betrayal to some people who live their spiritual lives through the music they listen to,” Knapp told the LGBT publication.

Furthermore, the move provides Knapp a chance to be “wholly myself”.

Over the past week or so I have fielded a lot of questions and one interview concerning Jennifer’s decision to “come out.” There has been a lot of conversation with a lot of various viewpoints.  Whether you agree fully with the following quote from this post or not, I thought this was a very interesting insight:

In all this, Jennifer Knapp–the singer and songwriter–will likely be forgotten.  Her status as a person, a person with sinful inclinations that obscure the radiant, recalcitrant image of God, will be pushed to the background as we focus on the only salient fact for us:  that instead of simply being a minor Christian celebrity, she’s now a gay minor Christian celebrity.

Jennifer Knapp, object lesson.   For whatever we want to say.  Objectification happens in many forms–and turning someone into a flash card for our broader spiritual lessons is only one of them.

Of course, such objectification is probably inevitable.  After all, Jennifer Knapp isn’t in your church.  I’m going to guess she’s not reading our blogs.  And she’s probably not your friend.  She exists for most of us only as an icon of that funny phenomenon we call “Christian culture.”  And so because she has lent herself and her music–as all successful musicians must–to the objectifying press-machine that is Nashville, it’s tempting to say that she deserves whatever  she gets.

But that doesn’t mean it’s good, or that it justifies our own objectification of her.  Especially when in every interview I’ve read, she’s expressed reluctance and dismay that her sexuality will be used as a political football.  And she seems, if nothing else, to be properly respectful of her differences with the Christian community.  In other words, she seems to be want to left alone, even if her status as minor gay Christian celebrity doesn’t allow it.

And so maybe, just maybe, we should respect her subjectivity, not turn her into an object lesson, and move on.

Jennifer has made a lot of money and fame in the contemporary Christian music scene.  Just as she rightfully earned her recognition as an amazing artist, she has also earned the scrutiny that comes along with all of that celebrity.  At the same time, we as Christians are called to see beyond the hype and to the real principles being played out on the national stage in front of us. With the Spirit’s help we can consider Jesus’ sacrifice for us corporately and for us individually.  The Spirit will also help us consider Jesus’ sacrifice for Jennifer as well.

One example of the objectification of Jennifer came when someone who was obviously very angry with her decision asked me:

So when do we come to the point of just flat out telling her that her “loving relationship” with this woman isn’t love at all? … that she is offending a Holy God?

I told this person that we need to step back and realize that God is fully aware of Jennifer’s love for her partner.  He understands the legitimate needs seeking to be expressed in both of their hearts and He also, fully understands the reasons why both have turned to sinful behavior to try and meet those needs.  The truth is, Jennifer probably really does love her partner.  We don’t need to minimize or dismiss that.  The beautiful and sometimes tragic nature of love is that we have free will on where and whom to invest it.  Jennifer is investing hers into her partner. This ability to steward love is why God is so jealous for our love, it’s a huge investment of our entire being.  He entrusted that to us with free will so that it would be authentic. Rightly or wrongly, when one invests love in another … that’s an investment of the heart, soul and sometimes body of the person.

A very big deal indeed.

I have a feeling Jennifer isn’t clueless that most Christians believe homosexual behavior is sin.  I just wonder if anyone ever offered to share with her a redemptive view of sexuality instead of being heavy handed on condemning the behavior.  To ask Jennifer to “repent” is to ask her to give up her hard fought battle to reconcile her life to herself.  It’s to ask her to sacrifice two of the biggest investments in her life (her partner and identity.)  That is no small thing and should not be treated lightly.

Temptations, if they are of any worth as temptations, usually latch on to a legitimate need and point to sinful behavior as a way to meet those needs.  However, in Christ, temptations are also an opportunity to recognize legitimate needs and pursue meeting those needs in biblically appropriate ways.  Jesus was tempted in every way but never sinned.  His Spirit can empower us to discover, learn and implement ways to meet our needs and turn away from sin.  Right now, and not knowing her personally, it would seem that Jennifer is seeking to meet her needs in the only way she knows how or feels is an option.  God understands this and I have no doubt is working in her life to provide His redemptive perspective.

Later I thought about this person saying Jennifer was offending a Holy God.  That irritated me at the time and didn’t quite know what to say without getting upset.  So I was silent in the conversation but I wished I had said that instead of God manifesting in all His glowing glory and declaring how offended He is, He manifested as Jesus Christ.  He didn’t cross His golden robed arms, roll His heavenly focused eyes and snarkily guffaw a lightning bolt out of His mouth to express his offense.  A tortured, grieving Jesus willingly outstretched His arms and was nailed to a cross. As He died, He didn’t lament how badly His Bride, His Church, was treating Him.  He asked the Father to forgive us for we know not what we have done.

If anyone had a right to abandon everyone who offended him, Jesus was that person.  But He didn’t.  Instead He paid the highest price possible to forgive us in spite of us.

Jennifer says she knows the Lord.  I assume that is true.  And if it is true, He never lets go.  He wants her and her partner (all of us) to know that He offers a greater love than we could ever imagine or think.  His love outshines any human love and can satiate any soul.

Lord, empower us to invest our love wisely … starting with You. Amen.

Can a gay person go straight? Many Christian groups say yes. Others say a person is born gay and can't change.

SPECIAL REPORT: Sexuality and Spirituality

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA (November 18, 2009) NBC News Augusta by: Arielle Clay – Story Published: Nov 17, 2009 at 6:14 PM EST

Can a gay person go straight? Many Christian groups say yes. Others say a person is born gay and can’t change.

In this special report, NBC Augusta 26 News takes a closer look at this debate.

“A homosexual was a neighbor of mine and came on to me and I relented and came into the homosexual lifestyle,” Interim Directorsaid.
Game used to be gay.

“Felt homosexual from a very young age, probably around 5 or 6 years old that was not sexualized until puberty,” Game said.

He is a Southern Baptist minister who lived as a gay man for three and a half years.

“Really going from relationship to relationship, and as I said at one time I put my hand to my heart and said there’s just a void,” Game said.

To fill the emptiness he felt, Game says he gave his life to Christ and started what he calls his journey to becoming a man.

“I always say I walked away from homosexuality. It didn’t walk away from me. I had to leave it,” Game said.

To understand Game’s explanation of how he was able to leave homosexuality he says you first have to understand what he thinks causes it.

“People are basically found with same sex attractions. That’s why they believe they’re born homosexual because they never made a decision,” Game said.

Game doesn’t believe a person is born gay but unlike many conservative ministers he doesn’t think it’s a choice. For Game it comes down to how you are raised.

“If my wife is way more interesting than me and I’m abusive or way more passive, then my son’s not going to be excited to be like me,” he said.

That means, Game says, his son would associate with his mother; see himself as a woman’s equal, not opposite and thus, like men.

“I realized I didn’t know what it was to be a man. I didn’t have a relationship with my father. I didn’t have a relationship with young boys or men. I thought I understood women,” Game said.

With his theory Game began his quest to manhood. To help he’s taken up traditionally masculine activities, made male friends and yes, even married a woman.

“I was actually excited to see that I was aroused by my wife but it was through the relationship building,” Game said.

But many question: Is the attraction gone or are Game and others like him willing themselves out of a lifestyle their faith has preached against since their childhood. That’s what Susan Venable thinks.

“They tried to pray the gay out but it didn’t work,” Venable said.

Venable also grew up Southern Baptist. She came out to her parents at 16.

“They wanted me to see a religious counselor much like one of the truth ministry things. I think my dad even called them for advice,” Venable said.

But it wasn’t just Venable’s parents. Even she tried to “go back into the closet” after dealing with the rejection at home and in her church. Venable believes the loneliness is why many people try to become ex-gay.

“What your beliefs are being raised and what you grow up to be are totally conflicting. That’s very tormenting and they didn’t want to feel that anymore,” Venable said.

Venable who believes homosexuality is genetic says you can’t stop being homosexual.

“I can no more make myself straight than I can will the color of my hair to change. Sure I can dye it brown but my roots are still going to be blonde,” Venable said.

Still Game insists you can stop being gay and it’s not genetic. That doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t feel temptations.

“When I struggle, If I’m going to struggle it’s most likely going to be after the attributes of a perfect male than it is a perfect female,” Game said.

One of those struggles led to a fall two years into his marriage. He cheated on his wife with a man.

“Coming out of homosexuality it’s like trying to learn a bike. You’re going to fall a bunch of times. I just kept getting back on the bike and riding,” Game said.

What it comes down to is a difference in fundamental beliefs. One side sees homosexuality as another sin to overcome.

“I take up my cross and I follow Him. If having same sex attractions is my cross I’m okay with that,” Game said.

The other side sees it as the life they were destined to live.

“I know if I was to find a man and marry him that still doesn’t make me straight,” Venable said.

Both say they’re at peace with their spirituality and sexuality.

Suzanne Venable is now Unitarian and attends the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta.

Interim Directoris the founder of Hope for Wholeness – an organization that helps deliver people from homosexuality. There’s a branch in Aiken.

We want to hear from you – can a gay person go straight? Answer our web poll on the right hand side of the NBC Augusta home page.

Exodus Weighs in on the Church & Sexuality

Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted to allow hire of homosexuals

NEW MAN EMAGAZINE (September 14, 2009)New Man eMagazine recently interviewed Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International’s Senior Director of Church Equipping, in  Dealing with Homosexuality in the Church.

New Man: How did you feel about the ELCA’s decision?

Buchanan: Well, I was extremely disappointed. It doesn’t really affect just the Lutheran denomination; it affects the entire body of Christ. It doesn’t promote a biblical worldview of homosexuality, and it goes to the core of what it means for men and women to be made in God’s image.

New Man: How do decisions like this affect those who are torn between same-sex attraction and their faith?

Buchanan: I think it sends a very confusing message to those struggling with same-sex attraction. The Lutherans obviously aren’t the only denomination dealing with this. A number of mainline denominations, including the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.], are dealing with this issue this summer and coming to decisions about it. When you see so many denominations dealing with this and compromising biblical truth, it sends a confusing message to those who are struggling. They start to think, “Maybe there is something in this ‘open theology’ that I should consider.” So what it does is draw people into this heresy . . ..

READ the rest of Dealing with Homosexuality in the Church

GET more information on the Exodus Church Association

malware removal and website security SSL Cerficate