Dear Friends,

In early December, the Canadian parliament passed bill C-4, which was intended to ban the practice of conversion therapy in Canada. The bill makes it a criminal offense to practice conversion therapy, with penalties ranging up to five years in prison for those convicted. The legislation will become Canadian law on January 7, 2022.

Traditionally, conversion therapy has been defined as efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation, often using coercion or shame. These sorts of practices are harmful and are rightly rejected by all Canadians. However, the new legislation contains a definition of conversion therapy that goes far beyond this understanding. In fact, we believe the new law represents a significant and profoundly troubling intrusion into the spiritual and sexual lives of Canadians and that it violates the conscience rights of millions of people of faith in this country. Depending on how the law is interpreted and applied, anyone with a traditional, Biblical understanding of gender and sexuality who attempts to support a person wrestling in these areas could be at risk of criminal charges. We believe the law will have implications for Christian ministries that teach that marriage is between one man and one woman.

We can’t go into all the provisions of the law in this letter, but you can learn more by visiting the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada website. For now, the broad definition of conversion therapy contained in the law and the remarkable speed with which the bill passed through parliament (without any debate or input) mean that Journey is grappling with how it might impact our ministry. Journey has never done conversion therapy, properly understood, but the law is so vague and potentially broad that it is very difficult to know what the impact will really be. As a result, Journey is going to take six months to review the law and understand its implications for our work. During this six-month period, we will not be offering courses or programs. We will not offer the Journey Discipleship Course, nor will we undertake speaking engagements having to do with marriage, sexuality, or gender, or respond to e-mail inquiries regarding these issues.

We know that this news will come as a shock and disappointment to many of you. Most of the people who attend Journey courses are not wrestling with understanding their gender or sexual identity, and so this has implications beyond the obvious issues. Some may believe this is an overreaction. However, we want to comply with the law, and we will take this time to do a thorough review of our programs, drawing on legal experts, where necessary. This is a cautious and prudent approach to protect our organization and our staff and volunteers. In the meantime, we intend to continue to communicate with you, pray with you and carry on with ministry throughout this pause and long into the future.

For now, please know that many of the staff and volunteers at Journey are tired and somewhat sad. Most of us got into this ministry because we wanted to care for people, to pray for people, and to show people that they are loved by God beyond what they could imagine. Over the past few years, we have been subjected to unfair and untrue comments and attacks, and this has been wearing. Please continue to pray for us.

This is a time of uncertainty for Journey, but we continue to have a deep commitment to the work of providing spiritually safe places for people to encounter God’s love. In the meantime, we place our hope in the risen Christ, who continues to occupy the throne of heaven.

From the Journey Team





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