Ministry provides faith-based resource for addressing same-sex attraction
Through prayer and counseling, she said, she discovered that “the void I was trying to fill is a void that only God can fill.”
For many years, Gary, assistant professor of communication and director of forensics at Abilene Christian University, wanted to give people facing similar struggles a faith-based resource she didn’t have.
She wrote a proposal to the elders of her congregation, the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene. Church leaders worked with her for more than a year to develop a strategic plan to reach people struggling with same-sex attraction.
The result was CenterPeace, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with its own board of directors. The ministry, which seeks financial supporters, has no paid staff but lots of volunteers, Gary said.
“Our dream is to become a place where people can find support and resources, whether they’re in the midst of the same-sex struggle or looking to minister to someone who is,” she said.
Gary meets with a group of 10-15 students who share their struggles and offer support. Kurt Boyland, a counselor at Abilene Christian, developed a 13-week curriculum for the group.
Gary also travels to church conferences and speaks on university campuses about CenterPeace’s ministry, offering advice to church members interested in launching support groups in their communities.
In most churches, “we have stigmatized same-sex attraction such that our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters are terrified to admit this is our struggle,” Gary said.
The ministry also plans to train Christians to reach out to self-identified gay communities. Through an internship program, CenterPeace will help believers move into these communities, build relationships and home churches, and “simply be Jesus to people,” Gary said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, see centerpeace.info , e-mail [email protected] or call (325) 232-2528.
FeedbackFacing,viewing,interpreting and establishing a pronounced “category or placement” that doesn’t “JIVE” with the social and religious norms is a daunting task. But to take action through the fear and stigmatization and “own” the entire self–both that is accepted by social and religious institutions and not accepted- this is the “stuff life is made of”. This is where we carry our cross, as God leads us to him. This is where the “rubber meets the asphalt”. This is acceptance of ourselves and others. This is spiritual growth that can not be replaced, and is absolutely invaluable to our souls. love you Sally, BethBeth TrousdaleFirst Christian ChurchNorman, Ok
ClevelandApril, 17 2011