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"Gay cure" not part of CofE's "shared conversations"

Tue 14 Apr 2015
By Desmond Busteed

The Church of England has appeared to distance itself from a controversial conference promoting "sexual orientation change efforts" or "gay cure" therapy, organised by a number of Christian groups.

In January, 14 UK health organisations, including NHS England and the Royal College of GPs, signed a "memorandum of understanding" on conversion therapy in the UK stating that "efforts to try to change or alter sexual orientation through psychological therapies are unethical and potentially harmful".

The event, which takes place at the Emmanuel Centre, London, and organised by the Core Issues Trust; Anglican Mainstream and Christian Concern vows to "challenge the "scientific basis of the Memorandum and expose its dangerous consequences for the freedom of those facing unwanted same-sex attraction."

The Church of England's currently engaged in "facilitated conversations" on human sexuality, which was set up after same-sex marriage legislation was introduced in England and Wales, which the Church opposed, however discussions on "gay cure" therapy remain on the margins.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: "We are facilitating Shared Conversations on scripture, mission and sexuality so people with differing views are able to hear each other more accurately.

"This conference, which is not sponsored or organised by the Church of England, is not part of the shared conversations programme."

Andrea Minichiello Williams, a General Synod member who founded Christian Concern, is one of the speakers and organisers of the event.

Speaking to the Independent, she said: "Our conference is a thing that's born out of compassion and love. We believe people should be free to choose and change their behaviour if that's what they wish to do. We promote God's model for sexuality which is a man and a woman."

Revd Colin Coward, the director of Changing Attitude, which lobbies for greater inclusion of LGBT people in the church, said he found the conference "deeply worrying".


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