One of the few remaining ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy organisations in Australia has announced the appointment of a new leader after the resignation of Haydn Sennitt last year. The December newsletter reads:

“The Liberty Committee is excited to announce that Allan Starr has been appointed as our new part-time Pastoral Worker. He will begin with us in February 2014. After three years of theological training, Allan spent ten years assisting in various Sydney churches in a pastoral role. His experience in teaching and caring for individuals and groups equips him well for this new role. We had a number of impressive applicants for the position, but felt that Allan was the one who offered the best combination of training and experience to help us move ahead as a ministry. We are thankful to God for answering our prayers and making it possible for Allan to join us. He is married to Meredith and has three young children.

One wonders if “We had a number of impressive applicants for the position”, is actually true or whether this is a bit of a smoke screen considering what’s been said about them? Allan Starr, the newly appointed pastoral worker, seems to have little or no public profile except when he was robbed in his parish in Bankstown. So why is Allan the best man for the job to work with those with unwanted same-sex attraction ???

The questions remain…….

  • Is Allan Starr same-sex attracted himself and therefore understanding of the people he works with?
  • If he is same sex attracted….why hasn’t he come out and said it publicly in a testimony or on the internet? Fearful of controversy?
  • Will Mr Starr refuse to speak with the media when asked for comment as has happened  in the past when the effectiveness of the ministry was challenged?
  • Will he preach a message of celibacy for same-sex attracted Christians and say that a person can be gay and Christian as Alan Chambers (former leader of Exodus) has stated. Or will his message be one of change and overcoming homosexuality as Haydn Sennitt (previous pastoral) worker preached?
  • Under Haydn’s Sennitt’s tenure at Liberty Christian Ministries, instead of becoming a thriving ministry, it went into decline. Will Allan Starr bring the phoenix out of the ashes?
  • How will Allan cope in the often volatile public space of the debate on homosexuality and Christianity or will he only see people, one on one, who have been referred to the ministry by church pastors or trouble parents.  If so, then he won’t get any referrals from one of Australia’s largest churches, Hillsong, according to the pastor, Brian Houston.

© Anthony Venn-Brown