Today my friends and I met with several congregation members of Tremont Baptist Church. We held signs against Focus On The Family and distributed our flyers. But the most rewarding part of the day was having one on one conversations with the church goers.
They were all very kind and loving except for one man who murmured "You'll burn in hell."
Some members of the church didn't know the conference was coming. The younger members of the church were shocked that a conference that tried to change gays to straights was coming. "That can't be done," yelled one girl and her boyfriend.
Another woman gripped my arm tightly and kept repeating "Jesus loves you, you can change, follow his word." I told her I knew that Jesus loved me the way I was and I didn't need to change.
Another woman proclaimed her support for Focus On The Family, "I listen to them every day I love them. Jesus loves you. He's not anti-gay! No we're not anti-gay," she said. When I tried to inform her that James Dobson thinks gays are sick, she refused to listen.
Several members of the congregation said they did not support the conference but Focus On The Family was renting the space, and they let anyone rent the space. "Free Speech," they said.
The Secretary of the church said she prayed for us because she knows our lifestyle is difficult. I said, "Over there is my boyfriend and we are very happy and healthy together." She informed me that she has received many of our calls and she prays for us, and she does NOT support the conference. She also said she was not that informed about our cause. But in the next breath she defended the church for renting the space to FOTF.
Some members of the congregation said they were told just before today's service was over that the conference was an evangelical Christian conference. They were intrigued when they discovered the true reason for the conference through our flyers and conversations.
It was a good day. We were able to see what the sentiments in the congregation are - and wow do they vary! The congregation has the supporters, the misinformed, and the anti-gays. Let's hope our supporters start to speak up in the next few weeks. Let's hope people start expressing concern to Interim Pastor Ray!
Our next official meet & greet with the congregation will be on September 18th at noon.