This morning I joined ex-gay survivors Christine Bakke and Daniel Gonzales at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. This is Pastor Ted Haggard’s former church. Late last year he admitted to drug usage and sexual relations with another man. After 3 weeks of counseling, he was proclaimed 100 percent heterosexual. This highlighted the existence of ex-gay conversion therapy and also spread lots of misinformation.
We know that New Life Church has been through a lot and that they warmly received Mike Jones,(the man Ted Haggard had been with) some months ago, so we didn’t wish to protest them. We also were sensitive that this was during their time of worship, so we assembled in between their services.
We stood at a distance on the sidewalk and read our statements. A TV news crew arrived. The three of us then walked to the World Prayer Center to hand over the framed collages about our ex-gay journeys (Christine designed these).
We out ran the TV crew because we didn’t want to make a scene as we sought out a reception area or office inside.
A minister approached us, and the encounter could have ended there with him taking the collages, but he insisted we speak with someone else. By the time we exited the building, security, uniformed police, the dozen supporters who were with us by the road and other church staff and members gathered.
It was then I realized that although we wanted to just read our statements at a distance then slip in and slip out, that a better plan emerged, one that engaged a larger part of New Life Church than we expected.
We talked to an associate pastor who said he would rather we come back another day during the week when it is quiet. He softened though when I explained that we are aware that his church cares more about people than politics. He took the collages with evident care and asked me to call later in the week. They then invited us to worship with them and some of our group did.
Video will be posted soon at bXg & Soulforce. Click on the collage pictures to view larger images.