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Starbucks CEO Refuses to Speak at Leadership Summit

August 12, 2011

Yahoo! News reported that Howard Schultz, head of Starbucks, decided to forego his appearance at the Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church this morning because of online accusations that the church is anti-homosexual. Schultz allegedly told pastor Bill Hybels that an online petition created a situation where his appearance at the Summit would be “unacceptable.” The petition referred to Willow Creek’s decision to cut ties with Exodus International, an organization which helps homosexuals change their sexual orientation.

Hybels told audiences at the Summit that the anti-gay accusations were “simply not true,” and even though Willow expects their congregants to follow the Bible and “reserve marriage for one man and one woman,” all worshippers were welcome at Willow, including many with same-sex attraction.

The annual Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church is broadcasted via satellite to thousands of pastors and church leaders all over the world. Hybels requested the audience at the Summit “buy a cup of coffee in the next couple of days” to show Christian love to Schultz, despite his absence.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.