A northwest suburban megachurch has severed ties with Exodus International, one of the country's largest ministries promoting ex-gay counseling.
Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington quietly split with Exodus in 2009, a move that is just coming to public light now.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus and an ex-gay himself, said that his ministry was "privately disappointed" when Willow Creek informed them that the church was "changing how they approached recovery ministries."
"Recovery ministries," said Chambers, is a counseling term for ministries that reach out to people on a number of faith-related issues, including unwanted same-sex attraction.
According to Chambers, Willow Creek and Exodus had a decades-old relationship and that Willow Creek had officially been a part of the Exodus association for approximately five years.
Chambers claimed that Exodus doesn't advocate for ostracizing gay people. He has gay friends and family members, he said.
"Our message is the same as anyone's message who is dealing with conflict with how they want to live," said Chambers, who said he got over his same-sex attractions in the early 1990s. "It's not hateful to tell someone you can live how you want to live."
Exodus currently has a membership of approximately 250 ministries in North America.
Willow Creek Community Church declined to comment.