ABBI’s founder and CEO, Anthony Venn-Brown, was a high profile Pentecostal preacher in Australia’s mega churches and married with two children. After twenty two years of trying everything to change his sexual orientation he resigned from the ministry believing that that it was impossible for him to be gay and Christian.
In 2004, the first edition of his autobiography “A Life of Unlearning” was released. This produced an avalanche of people contacting him, telling their own stories of struggling with faith/sexuality conflict. The impact of theirs and others ignorance was heart-wrenching. Rejection by friends and family, failed marriages, mental health issues, thoughts of suicide as well as attempts were common themes.
In 2005, Anthony co-founded Freedom2b to provide support for these people. Under his six year leadership Freedom2b became Australia’s largest network of LGBTI people from Christian backgrounds with monthly chapter meetings in capital cities, an online forum and 30 volunteers and leaders.
Whilst support for these people was vital, even life saving at times, Anthony saw an even greater need “It’s better to build a fence at the top of the cliff than run ambulances down the bottom”. Pastors, church leaders and denominations needed to be educated not only about sexual orientation but also the harm caused to LGBTI people because of ignorance and misinformation. ABBI was founded and became an association incorporated in May 2013
ABBI reaches out to churches, Christian leaders and organizations to create respectful dialogues that will lead to greater understanding, acceptance and equality. ABBI also uses social networks, newsletters, blogs and the media to circulate relevant up to date information about LGBTI issues.