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Canadian Christian Group Anti-LGBTQ Therapy Event Cancelled


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Atheist Republic (News)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): n.d.

CBC News reported on one known controversial Christian group. It wants to host an event. It acquired critique from LGBTQ or sexual minority activists. Following that, it was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Journey Canada wanted to host a retreat at the Villa Madonna Retreat House. It is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint John.

The Canadian group was formerly called Living Waters and based in Vancouver. It is a non-denominational religious sect. It is focused on the healing of the “relationally and sexually broken.” The group has spoken on their values being against those acts seen as violations of God’s bounds for proper sexual expression.

These include compulsive masturbation, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and pornography use. The retreat for the group was scheduled to happen between July 22 and July 28. The Administrative Director for the Villa Madonna, Dianne O’Dell, stated, in an email to the CBC, that the event was cancelled.

The reasons for the cancellation were not given to the CBC. As stated in the article, “CBC News tried the Diocese of Saint John and Journey Canada on Wednesday afternoon but did not receive an immediate response. Critics, including St. Thomas University professor Erin Fredericks, said the courses offered by the group amounted to ‘anti-LGBTQ therapy.’”

Fredericks considered this an organization the community does not want training local leaders. Those local leaders who would work with youth, even working with members of other faith groups. She was happy to hear about the cancellation of the Rothesay event.

Fredericks stated, “We were surprised to see that they were coming to New Brunswick, because they haven’t before, and we’re upset that this message was coming to a province that we believe had made some real steps forward in the last couple years toward supporting LGBTQ New Brunswickers,” Fredericks said. 

The concern from Fredericks was the potential ripple effect of the event. In that, the event could inspire the spread of a message of intolerance and even hate. “It’s not just about people who attend the event, it’s about the influence that they have after,” Fredericks opined.

Journey Canada is Living Waters, but Living Waters became Journey Canada in 2015 through a name change. It received $666,548 in donations in 2017. More than 9,100 people in 42 cities across Canada were ministered based on the annual report for 2017.


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