Henderson County’s Inclusive Church Faces Anti-LGBTQ Protestors’ Attack

Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo

The First Congregational Church in Laurel Park, Henderson County, had to suspend its morning services when a peaceful protest outside the building turned into a scene of heightened tensions.

The First Congregational Church is a well known supporter and promoter of inclusivity, and for being accepting of the LGBTQ community, serving as the main point of the protest. The protesters gathered on a sidewalk that was near the church carrying placards with anti-LGBTQ sentiments and some religious signs.

Henderson County Residents Stand Against Anti-LGBTQ Protest, Incident Captured on Video

According to the article in ABC 13 News, as the distressing incident played out just outside their door, the protest quickly gained pace and neighbors were forced to step in. One local homeowner had to be forcibly restrained following a heated interaction with a protester shouting anti-LGBTQ views into a bullhorn, further worsening the situation. After many 911 calls from worried neighbors, the Laurel Park and Hendersonville police departments were also summoned to the site.

Colleen Spillain, a neighboring homeowner who recorded the disturbing situation on her phone, called the incident “hate speech.” Spillain recalled, “Everyone in the neighborhood came walking over and they were livid.”

Spillain used her phone to record the proceedings, catching one incredibly stressful moment when a neighbor confronted the demonstrators by approaching a man using a bullhorn while moving over the grass. The man was heard yelling that the protesters to go and “get out of here,” but he was unheard and the protest continued.

A church in Henderson County, North Carolina, is preparing for a protest by a group that opposes inclusivity and LGBTQ rights. Reverend Dr. Dwight A. Moody of Providence Baptist Church revealed that members had informed him about the protest following an incident at the First Congregational Church. 

According to his website, The Meeting House, the Providence Baptist Church is organizing an LGBTQ outreach event on May 24, and the protesting group is believed to be from a South Carolina church that previously protested a Pride Picnic. 

Rev. Moody condemned the intolerance and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community, stating that it goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ. The small congregation is making arrangements to handle the protestors, although there is no public property nearby where they can legally assemble. Concerns about the broader division within American society have been raised, exemplified by the confrontations witnessed during the protest in Laurel Park on Mother’s Day.

Also Read:Fresno LGBTQ-Inclusive Church Hosts Vigil Following Vandalism Incident

Other LGBTQ Inclusive Church Experienced Hate, Community Support and Attend Candlelight Vigil

According to the article shared here in Christianity Daily, after a hate crime that targeted the church, members of the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Fresno held a candlelight vigil. The Fresno Police Department has investigated and suspected the incident as a hate crime after the church’s windows were severely damaged on April 18 and als has been defaced with the name of the far-right group, “the Proud Boys.” Over $25,000 has been estimated in damages.

This attack on the church is not the first to occur. In December, the Proud Boys’ intimidation of drag event attendees sparked worries about the church’s continued targeting. The church community is steadfast in its mission to eradicate prejudice and intolerance, notwithstanding the upsetting instances. The church has started a GoFundMe campaign to generate the money required for repairs in an effort to offset the costs associated with the damage.

The event was emotionally charged as attendees mixed grief and worry about the recent attack. In a related incident reported in NBC Chicago, vandals targeted a church in Chicago, destroyed its sign, and took a picture of Jesus with a rainbow. Reverend Stephens, the church pastor, is unfazed and promises to support inclusivity and love despite the constant threats and assaults.

Related Article: Persistent Vandalism at United Methodist Church in Chicago Prompts Pastor to Seek Police Intervention