North Park, San Diego, California: Missiongathering Christian Church, a progressive evangelical church in San Diego, purchased a billboard on University Avenue in the heart of Hillcrest (directly on top of the popular gay bar, Uptown Tavern) that declares “Radically Inclusive: God takes pride in you, so do we!” The billoard is prominently situated in the heart of Hillcrest, San Diego’s historic LGBT+ neighborhood and was intentionally positioned to be along the route of the San Diego LGBT+ Pride Parade on July 14, 2018.
The background of the billboard specifically names over two dozen minority groups that have traditionally been marginalized by the evangelical church in the United States. Among the groups named are Bisexual, Black, Nuero-Divergent, Muslim, Transgender, Non-Binary, Refugee, Immigrant, Palestinian, Indigenous People, Elderly, Disillusioned, Atheist, and Queer, among others.
“For far too long, Christians have been known for who we are against. We’re afraid of difference. We only desire to make the world conform to our image of what is right and good.” said Brandan Robertson, Lead Pastor of Missiongathering. “At Missiongathering, we believe that in our diversity that we best reflect God’s divinity- that when we amplify the beauty of our differences, all of us are challenged to expand our perspective and become more loving, more mindful, and more kind.”
The billboard stands in stark contrast to the signs that many other evangelical groups will be holding at Pride. Every year, Christian groups stand on the sidelines of the Pride parade and festival declaring God’s “judgment” on the LGBT+ community. “Their message isn’t good news for anyone- it’s a distortion of the teachings of Jesus, and it must be drown out with the good news of God’s radical pride in each one of God’s children”, Robertson said.
It is Missiongathering’s hope that their billboard will provoke discussion and be a beacon of healing for the hundreds of thousands of people who will pass by it on University Avenue, reminding them that there is a different kind of Christianity- a more loving, inclusive version- than the one that’s being represented in our nation’s public life or in the national media right now.
Missiongathering will also march in the Pride Parade and host a booth at the Festival that features large chalkboards which say “We Call Bullsh*t” which invite festival attendees to declare all of the ways religious communities have been harmful and hypocritical to them. On Sunday, July 15 at 10:00 AM, Missiongathering will host its annual Pride Worship Service, featuring Broadway songs as the worship selections for the service lead by church members and members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.
Missiongathering Christian Church is a progressive, inclusive Christian church in the heart of North Park. Led by millennial author and activist Pastor Brandan Robertson, we continue to be a force for justice and peace in San Diego and around the world.