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Valley is an authentic, contemporary, dynamic & exciting Church, existing to ‘empower a new generation’ to be all that God intends them to be. We long to be a people of passion, purity, power and promise. With a call from Psalm 78:1-7, Senior Pastors Ed & Michele Carter launched Valley Church in April 2007. The church was strategically planted at the intersection of three major motorways which placed over a million people within a 20 minute catchment area.
At its simplest, our vision statement is empowering a new generation. Our desire is to ‘empower’ you to fulfil all that God has for you and called you to be. We long to empower this new generation to continually direct the future of the Church.
At Valley Church we long:
- to be full of passion to serve God excellently
- to seek after purity by following God’s word
- to be full of the power of God to reach the lost
- and to live in the light of God’s promises
The purpose statement for Valley Church is “to reach a New Generation for Christ and connect them with other Christians. To help them grow in their faith and empower them to discover their ministry, and worship God with every heartbeat and every breath.”
Sometimes it's amazing the way people can ignore the obvious. From the time I was 14 until I turned 18, it never occurred to me I was a boy-lover. Four whole years! When I think back on it, I see so many things that escaped my attention.
I was fourteen when I entered grade ten -- tall, eccentric, and very religious. I was preoccupied by deep thoughts about the nature of reality and knowledge, thoughts that annoyed me because I didn't like having questions to which I couldn't give adequate answers. As a result, I embraced a sort of omniscient fundamentalism.
All this thinking was not without practical purpose. For instance, it drew my attention away from one thing: my growing interest in the grade- nine boys. First there was Dennis. He was short, blond, and very cute. It was months before I even had the nerve to speak to him and, of course, that is all I did. The story was similar with all the others. I just wanted to be around them. All this time I was keenly aware that they were sexual beings, but it never dawned on me that I was sexually interested in them.
But interested I was! In the year and a half that followed, I had many crushes on boys, many of them blond. There was, for me, a mystique that surrounded beautiful boys who were experiencing the best that puberty had to offer them. Mind you, all this time, it rarely hit me that my interest was homosexual in nature. The only time that thought crossed my mind was when I was following a boy at school once, staring at his tight jeans. My favorite books, television shows and movies were the ones featuring beautiful boys. I recall discovering Silver Spoons in 1985 and being delighted.
Finally it happened. My fleshly nature got the best of me and I began to masturbate. (Oh horror!) I considered this on par with adultery, an attitude which had kept me from indulging. The summer I turned 16 I compensated, doing three or four times a day what I had not done at all previously. Then I began to fantasize and it didn't take me long to realize that I wasn't straight. At the time I assumed I was bisexual. After all, the fantasies I had when I was thirteen were all of women. And the fantasies I had when I was 16 included women. But largely, the women in the latter fantasies were having sex with the boys I was primarily fantasizing about. The girls weren't essential in the plot.
The grade nines at my school, when I was in grade twelve, were the best! So many cute little blonds. And yet I rarely spoke to any of them. After all, what would they make of a tall, eccentric sixteen-year-old ambling over to their table at lunch and making small-talk? In retrospect, I wish I had. I wish I had learned art or sketching so that I could go up to one of them and say, "I'm looking for a model for this art assignment...."
But such an event never transpired. I figured that I would eventually have a girlfriend, get married, normalize, whatever. After all, I didn't find women unattractive. I supposed that the interest in males would work itself out. Could I identify myself as gay? After all, I wasn't interested in adult men. I was certainly aware of my inclinations, but, to me "being gay" meant actively living an immoral lifestyle. That was out of the question.
It may have been out of the question, but I didn't stop fantasizing about boys. It didn't keep me from browsing the sex section of the library either. Upon entering the university, I found the latter pastime quite refreshing. Since I rarely ventured off campus, I didn't see many beautiful boys, therefore, books on adolescent sexuality provided some degree of solace. I discovered Kinsey. Whoever thought one could get turned on by reading a book of statistics? I often searched for material on adolescent homosexuality and found very few books on homosexuality that discussed this subject. Even at this time, I wasn't totally aware that I wanted sex with a boy. The majority of my fantasies were of boys having sex with girls or other boys. I never entered the picture. Perhaps this eased my conscience in some way.
I eventually made some steps toward coming to terms with my tastes. I had often suspected that I was mostly homosexual. So I went to a meeting of our university's gay/lesbian association. To put it plainly, I simply didn't identify with the people there. The next step was admitting to myself that just maybe, an alternate lifestyle was not necessarily evil. I had met an openly gay student in my department and he seemed like a person who wasn't warped or evil. My next step was to be honest with myself about my specific tastes and tell someone. I had already told some friends that I thought I had homosexual tendencies, but it wasn't until February, 1988, that I told a friend that young teens turned me on. I didn't say it in a positive way. On the contrary, I thought of it as a "problem.” My friend, however, was quite accepting, as he had interests in young teen girls.
The real turning point came when I was stumbling through the sex section of my hometown college library. One book caught my attention. It was titled Sexual Experiences Between Men and Boys by Parker Rossman. I expected it would be about devious, evil men who seduce children. But instead of presenting the stereotyped child-molester, Rossman discussed pederasty in a positive light. It never occurred to me that many boys look for experiences with men. I never imagined that there were societies in which boy-love was thought of favorably. Moreover, I never thought that there were thousands of people much like me: people with similar desires who are not criminals or kidnappers. In the matter of an hour, I had discovered that I was not alone -- perhaps not even as abnormal as I had supposed.
So, why did I take four years to come to this point? Obviously, because there is little sympathy for a sexuality which deviates so far from the majority. Our society doesn't encourage openness and honesty about such feelings. On the contrary, it makes pederasts feel like innately criminal perverts, and instills a fear that prevents us from talking to boys and expressing our inner feelings. When will society be open enough to admit boy-love exists and discuss it in a sane, unprejudiced, and rational way? This may not necessarily lead to a full public acceptance of boy-love. But without open communication, nothing will ever be accomplished.