Liverpool church which “helps people out of homosexuality” linked to “home exorcisms”

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The Frontline Church, Liverpool, which runs courses “helping Christian men and women out of homosexuality” has been described as being part of the “Dark Ages”.

The church’s courses are connected to the American LIFE Ministry, whose website instructs gay readers on home “exorcism”.

A document published on the Liverpool church’s website claimed people became gay as a result of “pain in childhood”.

The Homosexuality Fact Sheet, now removed from its website, included instructions on spotting people “struggling with homosexuality”.

The church said women “women may appear and dress in a more masculine way” and “men may appear somewhat effeminate, although this is not always the case”.

Church bosses today conceded the statements were “simplistic”, but denied homophobia.

They added they believed “the ways a person chooses to express their sexuality can change”.

The church claimed to have had success with some congregation members.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both “met staff to discuss grass roots issues in Liverpool”, according to the Frontline Trust’s accounts.

The national Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s Andrew Gilliver said: “The issues about ‘childhood pain’ are nonsense. The pain is often caused by people who don’t understand what they’re going through.

“We are born gay, but we learn prejudice. This is Dark Ages stuff.”

In a statement, the church said: “None of our services (church and projects) discriminate against anyone on any basis and we are unconditional in offering support to all service users.

“We respect everyone’s right to hold their own views and don’t ask service users to adhere to our Christian values or even ask project users what their views are.

“All are welcome to our Sunday services whoever they are.

“We agree that the fact sheet is somewhat simplistic and could lead to prejudicial stereotyping if taken wrongly, and that is the last thing we want.

“That is why the fact sheet has not been on our website for some time and we took it down because we did not feel it was a constructive reflection of such a complex issue.

“The Fact Sheet was written under the auspices of a staff member some years ago and he has subsequently left.”

“Liverpool LIFE Ministry is an internal pastoral support group for Frontline Church members who have requested extra support around their own sexuality.’

Conversion therapy has been criticised by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Psychiatry and the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The Royal College of Psychiatry has said: “There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.”

The church’s “extra support” LIFE Ministry programme is connected to the LIFE Ministry of New York City, whose website offers instructions on home “exorcisms”.

It suggests: “Have someone pray over you to break the demonic oppression that keeps you from getting in touch with your emotions and which seems to make resisting [homosexual] sin impossible.

“As you renounce the homosexual sin that you are practising as evil, the other person can command the demons to leave you so that you can choose a godly response to temptation.”

Joanne Highley, the Ministry’s founder, once asked in an interview “Why wouldn’t it be reasonable that if people crawl around on the floor of bars and have homosexual sex, that they would pick up demonic power?”

She claimed her ministry exorcised the orifices of those men and women who had engaged with the “demonic powers of lust, lasciviousness, of all sorts of filth”.

In an investigation by the Guardian earlier this year, the Frontline church said they had a “positive, ongoing friendship” with the LIFE Ministry organisation.

They adapt American LIFE materials in order to teach according to Highley’s method, which is a combination of “psychological therapy and prayer”.