Friday, August 12, 2011

Homosexualists Force Starbucks CEO to Shun Church

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz broke his contract to speak at a conference at the Chicago-area mega-church Willow Creek Community Church because a few hundred people signed a petition threatening a Starbucks boycott saying the church is "anti-gay."

It would appear that Willow Creek's recent decision to break ties with Exodus International, the world’s largest ‘ex-gay’ ministry, wasn't enough.

For background, read Homosexual Activists Heading for Willow Creek This Weekend and also read Should Willow Creek Have Met With Soulforce? as well as Megachurches Targeted for Pro-Gay Campaign

-- From "Starbucks CEO cancels Willow Creek speech" by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press Religion Writer 8/11/11

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz canceled an appearance at one of the most prominent megachurches in the country after an online petition condemned the congregation as anti-gay — a charge the church denies.

Schultz had been scheduled to speak Friday at the Global Leadership Summit organized by the Willow Creek Association, based in South Barrington. The annual event draws tens of thousands of viewers via satellite. Past speakers have included former President Bill Clinton, GE’s Jack Welch and rock singer Bono.

The petition at accused the megachurch of “anti-gay persecution” over Willow Creek’s past relationship with Exodus International, a Christian ministry that offers to help gays and lesbians change their sexual orientation. Willow Creek cut ties with Exodus in 2009, church spokeswoman Susan DeLay said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Global Leadership Summit coming to Willow Creek" posted at The Daily Herald 8/5/11

Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit . . . will be held this week at the South Barrington church, with 8,000 expected to attend.

The summit Thursday and Friday, Aug. 11-12, will be transmitted live via satellite to 185 locations throughout the U.S. and videocast to more than 270 cities internationally in the fall, reaching 165,000 people.

In an era where businesses, nonprofits and churches need strong leadership to figure out how to say afloat, it’s focused training events like this that can help leaders navigate the difficult waters of leading in times of turmoil. It has a 16-year history of training church leaders, and leaders in industry, the arts, service organizations, nonprofits and public service.

Other speakers include: Dr. Henry Cloud, a clinical psychologist, leadership consultant, and best-selling author; Len Schlesinger, president of Babson College, Harvard professor, former vice chair of Limited Brands; Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, founder and president of Salter McNeil & Associates, a Chicago-based leadership development organization; Michelle Rhee, founder of; and Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Willow Creek Mega-Church Cuts Ties With Exodus Outreach to 'Gays'" by Dave Bohon, The New American 7/25/11

Willow Creek officials said the move has more to do with the church’s overall ministry approach than to a change in its view on homosexuality, which has been traditionally viewed by Christians as sinful. . . .

While Willow Creek made the decision to sever its relationship with Exodus in 2009, the decision became widely known only in June. . . .

. . . Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, said that Willow Creek’s move reflected an emerging tendency among some evangelicals to shy away from dealing with controversial issues. . . .

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Exodus enjoyed a close ministry relationship with Willow Creek . . .

But that all changed after Willow Creek’s head pastor, Bill Hybels, agreed to a meeting in 2008 with members of SoulForce, a homosexual activist group that specifically targets churches and Christian organizations. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hybels was one of the nation’s few mega-church pastors who had agreed to meet with the homosexual group. Others, including Joel Osteen, pastor of the massive Lakewood Church in Houston, did not respond to SoulForce’s request for a sit-down.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Willow Creek Drops Exodus International, 'Ex-Gay' Ministry" by Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director, Soulforce - Huffington Post 7/22/11

Today is a red letter day at Soulforce, where I work. We practice relentless nonviolent resistance to religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families and allies. One of the organizations with whom we have worked, Willow Creek Community Church, has finally ended its formal relationship with Exodus International.

In 2008-2009, Soulforce was on the Willow Creek campus to meet with Pastor Bill Hybels to encourage his congregation to cease its prominent partnership with Exodus, which included "equipping events" at the church to help Willow Creek leaders and other local pastors work with those experiencing same-sex attraction.

Those of us who long for the Church Universal to equip its saints in the walk of peace and justice and inclusion are celebrating today that Willow Creek has found a door in the wall of religious bigotry and walked through it in such a public way.

Thank you, Pastor Bill. Thank you, Willow Creek Elders and Congregants. May the movement of the Holy Spirit continue within your community and one day may we all share a meal at the same Table of Grace.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Willow Creek Church Is Not Anti-Gay, Pastor Clarifies" by Alex Murashko, Christian Post Reporter 8/12/11

. . . Pastor Bill Hybels said on the first day of the annual Willow Creek Leadership Summit . . . “In the last seven days an online petition started to boycott Starbucks if Howard Schultz did not cancel his signed contract to this event. The issue driving this petition, which so far has been signed by 717 people, is homosexuality. The petition claims that Willow Creek Community Church is anti-gay. Therefore, if the president of Starbucks speaks here then Starbucks should be boycotted, or so the thinking goes.”

“The mat at every door on this campus has always read ‘welcome.’ . . . So, to suggest that we check sexual orientation or any other kind of issue at our doors is simply not true. Just ask the hundreds of people with same-sex attraction who attend our church every week.”

The senior pastor went on to clarify the church’s stance on homosexuality.

“Now, what is true is that we challenge homosexuals and heterosexuals to live out the sexual ethics taught in the scriptures which encourages full sexual expression between a man and a woman in the context of marriage and prescribes sexual abstinence and purity for everybody else.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.