The North England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has withdrawn its invitation of Michael Carducci, the founder of EXCEED Ministry, and a self-described former homosexual man, to the "Strong Families, Strong Churches" camp meeting.
Carducci had been slated to headline the "Holy Sexuality Conference," scheduled for April 21-25 in the South England Conference, and up until April 16, was listed as a speaker for the Youth program at the North England Conference camp meeting. Carducci was also disinvited from the "Holy Sexuality Conference" and the event was canceled.
North England Conference's camp meeting will continue, but without Michael Carducci in attendance.
"Coming Out Ministries," a small group of Adventist speakers who profess being cured of their homosexuality, stirred up significant controversy when the "Holy Sexuality Conference" became widely publicized. More than 40,000 people signed a Change.org petition seeking to bar the speakers from entering the UK. The petition included a statement from British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said,
If anything needs curing, it is the outdated belief that being gay is wrong or something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is not an illness but an inherent part of who you are."
A spokesperson for the South England Conference told Spectrum that the "Holy Sexuality" event was not caceled in response to the widespread protest (though when it came to light, it didn't help matters), but because,
Seventh-day Adventists are a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue. However, it appeared that rather than drawing people together the conference had the potential to divide. The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.
Within a few days of the sexuality conference's cancellation, Carducci's name and profile disappeared from the North England Conference camp meeting web page. The event will take place at the Butlins Holiday Park in Skegness, Lincolnshire. So far, a replacement Youth speaker has not been named for the event.
Michael Carducci did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.