RICHMOND, Va.--The Rev. Stephen Black knows the struggles of families with a loved one who identifies as homosexual or is dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity issues.
Black, who left the homosexual lifestyle more than 30 years ago, will be one of the featured speakers at the third annual Safe Exit Summit, a two-day conference co-hosted by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX, www.pfox.org), the nation’s leading advocacy organization that offers love and support to families and friends of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion. Black is also a member of the PFOX Board of Directors.
The Safe Exit Summit is set for Oct. 2-3, 2015, following September’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month, in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a legislator education day on Capitol Hill for those interested in visiting their legislators in support of ex-gays and individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions. Friday, Oct. 2 will feature a time of praise, as well as a viewing of the video “Such Were Some of You” and testimony by Black. On Saturday, Oct. 3, keynote speaker Dr. Michael Brown will present, along with numerous expert speakers who will address several issues.
“The Safe Exit Summit will help families in all stages of their journey in so many ways,” said PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs. “There will be hope and support for families and friends of homosexuals and gender confused men and women that proves change is possible.The Safe Exit event also allows ex-gay men and women to come together to raise awareness about the serious issues ex-gays face. The Summit Summit’s amazing speakers, like Stephen Black, bravely tell their personal stories in an effort to help someone else who may be struggling.”
Hope is an integral part of the conference, Griggs added, and speakers and experts share news and resources as families as they begin a journey of healing. For instance, she said, Dr. Christopher Rosik recently shared in an in-depth three-part Q&A that was published in mid-July on Mercatornet.com that same-sex-attracted teens can change, as their sexual attractions often change spontaneously. So why punish the professionals who are trying to help them? Rosik is a psychologist and director of research at Link Care Center in California and has published more than 45 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is also a past president of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity.
Black knows firsthand that sexual attractions can change—his own life is proof. He has worked in pastoral-care ministry as an ordained minister in the local church and with International Ministerial Fellowship for over 25 years with First Stone Ministries. Black also teaches in the local church, serves the Body of Christ in one-on-one pastoral care discipleship, weekly support group sessions and public speaking, and helps to provide freedom conferences and seminars.
PFOX shares Black’s video story on its web site, where he says he lived as a homosexual for about eight years after entering the lifestyle at the age of 14. As a 6-year-old boy, he was sexually molested by a male friend of the family who was babysitting him. Then at the age of 10, a male friend of a neighbor molested him again. Black became more and more attracted to his same sex and, eventually, became a sexually addicted man. He turned to God, received therapy and left the homosexual lifestyle more than 30 years ago.
Joining Black will be several top-name speakers at the Safe Exit Summit, including Brown, widely considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist and host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio broadcast.
Several other speakers will also be featured at the Safe Exit Summit:
• Dennis Jernigan, who will lead a special time of worship at the conference, is known primarily for his worship music, and his songs have been sung widely by the Body of Christ since the early 1990s. He has written hundreds of songs and authored many devotional and self-help books, fantasy novels and children’s stories. He shares his story of leaving a homosexual identity through his music and is convinced that with God, nothing is impossible.
• Rich Wyler is the founder and director of People Can Change, a nonprofit, peer-led support and educational organization of men who seek to resolve, diminish or make peace with their unwanted same-sex attractions. He is also the founder and co-creator the life-changing “Journey Into Manhood” experiential personalgrowth program and has compiled the book, “Then & Now: How My Sexual Attractions Have Changed.”
• Christopher Doyle is a licensed professional psychotherapist and co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless. He is also the Director of the International Healing Foundation, a non-profit organization that since 1990 has helped thousands of individuals and families struggling with sexual orientation. As a published author and expert in adolescent sexual health, as well as a former homosexual, Doyle has spoken to international audiences and had his work published in numerous outlets.
• Jayson Graves is a Christian psychotherapist specializing in sexual addictions recovery and unwanted attractions. He enjoys helping his clients from both a clinical and personal frame as a person in recovery himself. His experience comes from working with youth, in community mental health and men’s ministry, and he has also worked with couples, individuals, young adults and teens in private practice. Graves is the founder and director of the international telephone counseling ministry Healing for the Soul.
• Ben Spratling was once exclusively attracted to other men. Raised Southern Baptist, he was confused by what he was taught in church about his feelings. But he pursued change for his attractions, a journey that took 11 years. Today, he believes that Biblical religious principles are the foundation for the United States of America and wants to see religious rights protected. He’s committed to the Recently Straight project—a web-based TV show reenacting the stories of men who have changed from gay to straight.
According to Griggs, research, along with the personal experiences of ex-gays like those featured at the Safe Exit Summit, has shown that homosexuality is not innate and that change is possible. Visitors to www.pfox.org can also listen to personal stories of ex-gays who share about their lives and their decision to change.
Griggs added that thousands of men and women with unwanted same sex attractions and gender confusion make the personal decision to leave their homosexual lifestyle and identity, and seek support and help from churches in their journey. Churches interested in finding out more about Safe Exit, a program that offers resources and expert speakers to help them open their doors to the ex-gay community and those struggling with same-sex attractions and gender identity confusion, can visit www.pfox.org/safe-exit/.
To register for the Safe Exit Summit, visit www.safeexitsummit.org/register.html. Co-hosting the Safe Exit Summit with PFOX is Voice of the Voiceless and Equality And Justice For All.
The mission of Voice of the Voiceless is to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions and their families, while supporting the faith-based community and working to defend the constitutional rights of all people to share their views of homosexuality in the public forum. Equality and Justice For All is the only civil rights organization to further the general welfare of the ex-gay community by promoting fair and equitable laws and policies protecting their rights. By furthering individual self-determination and liberty for former homosexuals, the group strives to reduce bigoted representations of the ex-gay sexual orientation status and works to ensure that ex-gays and their friends and families can be open, honest, safe and respected in a diverse society.
PFOX is a national non-profit organization that supports families and educates the public on sexual orientation and the ex-gay community. PFOX supports an inclusive environment for the ex-gay community and works to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against former homosexuals by conducting public education and outreach to further individual self-determination and respect for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation.
PFOX believes that every person seeking positive life change needs the love and support of family, friends, the community and the church and strives to offer a place for help, a place for truth, and a place for ex-gays to participate in the conversation about same-sex attraction. PFOX families love their homosexual child unconditionally, believing that unconditional love between them and their child is based on treating each other with kindness and respect. Each year, men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to seek help in overcoming a homosexual identity through gender-affirming programs, including counseling, support groups, faith-based ministries and other non-judgmental environments.
For more information on PFOX, visit its web site at www.PFOX.org, its Facebook page, its Twitter feed @PFOX4U, or email email@example.com.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization with a mission to support families and educate the public on sexual orientation and the ex-gay community. PFOX is committed to supporting parents and friends of homosexuals who want help, hope and community, and exists to provide education and resources. PFOX works toward understanding and acceptance of the ex-gay community.
To interview a representative from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, or Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.