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2002 PE Report stories


Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001)

KingdomBuy.com caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)


2000 News Digest stories

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle

(March 25, 2001)

On Easter a decade ago, Alan Chambers sat in a homosexual bar in Orlando, Fla., drinking. It marked one more chapter in his struggle with a lifestyle dating back to his childhood.

Pastor Alan Chambers counsels a teen-ager.

Even surrounded by alcohol, Chambers says he clearly sensed God’s unconditional love and God’s desire to free him from his bondage.

"I remember sitting there saying, ‘God, I want to be healed. I want to be better. But I’ve been at this for eight years. I’ve been praying for something for so long. I really need some kind of confirmation.’ "

At that moment, Chambers saw two Christian friends walking through the tavern door. They saw his car parked outside, paid a cover charge to enter the bar and went in to get Chambers out. They told him the Lord had sent them.

Today, Chambers, 28, serves on the pastoral staff of Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, one of a number of churches in the Fellowship that minister to young people struggling with homosexuality. In January 1999, with the blessing of Pastor Clark Whitten, Chambers started such an outreach, called "The Fringe."

Chambers has been attending Calvary Assembly since 1995 and met Leslie, his wife of three years, there. He now meets individually with 25 teen-agers for weekly sessions. Every six sessions he also meets with their parents. He regularly offers online counseling and support to about 300 young people by e-mail (alanchambers@calvaryorlando.org).

Whitten is grateful that Chambers can offer hope to youth because of his past in a way that Whitten can’t. "We believe in Alan and what he’s doing," Whitten says.

Besides his work with youth, Chambers directs Eleutheros, a member of Exodus of North America, a network of Christian ministries to people seeking freedom from homosexuality (http://www.exodus northamerica.org). Chambers, with Whitten’s consent, relocated Eleutheros to Calvary Assembly, giving the church a two-pronged means of outreach. Chambers also serves on the Exodus board of directors.

Penny Dalton, another Exodus board member, is a longtime member of Trinity Assembly of God in Middletown, N.Y. She helps direct Whosoever Will Ministry, an endorsed ministry of Trinity Assembly which counsels men and women seeking to leave the homosexual lifestyle. Both Dalton and Whosoever’s executive director, Elaine Sinnard, are former lesbians. They found Christ in 1978 and determined to reach other homosexuals with the gospel. Today, people from across the state drive to Middletown to take part in Whosoever’s meetings.

Participants enjoy times of praise and worship, a devotional, a teaching time and breaking into small groups. There is a mixed group of men and women and a men’s group that deals specifically with sexual abuse suffered during childhood.

Pastor Jerry Bricker believes Trinity Assembly has reached many people who would never have been touched with the gospel otherwise. "Homosexuals are in need of the gospel just like anyone else," he says. "I’ve met many people who have said, ‘I’m so glad to find a church that is willing to accept people like us in our struggle and understand that there is help for us.’ Sometimes churches are afraid those people living in homosexuality will somehow infect their church. We’ve demonstrated that this is not true."

Dalton points out that accepting homosexuals into a church community does not have to include accepting homosexuality.

"When people come in, we interview them first," she says. "We stress very clearly that we base this whole ministry on Scripture. It’s a very difficult battle. But unless we proclaim the truth, it’s going to be a battle the rest of that person’s life. That’s true for any bondage."

Chambers’ burden to reach out to young people goes beyond the walls of his church. He is working with Charlaine Townsend at nearby University of Central Florida to start a ministry to homosexual students through Chi Alpha, the A/G campus ministry.

"We can’t just scream and holler about the sin," Whitten says. "We must be willing to offer God’s healing grace and the opportunity for them to become healthy and find the support system they need."

"One person in our church at the beginning said to me, ‘I know that a ministry like this is important, but why does it have to be at our church?’" recalls Bricker. "And I said, ‘I’m honored that God has allowed us to have this opportunity.’ That person is still part of the church and has come to understand that that is true.’"

— Scott Harrup

 

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