The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

Gay protest over new Portland Church cancels service

September 8, 2011

By Oregon Christian Post,

Mars Hill Church, a popular Seattle-based mega-church with campuses throughout the Northwest and Southwest United States, recently bought an abandoned historic church at 3210 SE Taylor Street and will begin services soon.The Oregonian reported that a gay kiss-in protest was planned and since then the first service was canceled.

The Q Center, a prominent Portland gay rights group, and some members of surrounding Portland neighborhoods have expressed concerns about the church’s belief that homosexuality is a sin. While Mars Hill is an evangelical Christian church, Tim Smith, who will serve as the church plant’s lead pastor, is working overtime to dispel misconceptions that the church will be an unfriendly, divisive force in the community.

According to Smith, “We might knock on someone’s door, but it won’t be to ram something down anyone’s throat,” said Smith. “It will be more to ask how we can extend a hand of friendship and how we can be good neighbors.”

Despite Mars Hill’s record of success in largely diverse, un-churched communities, Smith still finds himself answering questions of misconception, such as whether the church’s presence will make it unsafe for gays and lesbians.

Other residents appear more willing to give the Mars Hill church plant a chance to be “good neighbor,” even if they disagree with its Christian beliefs.

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Discuss this article

Davey September 8, 2011

This is obviouslya rough start. But I am hopeful that both sides can meet and exchange each otehr’s concerns and viewpoints and be better because of it. Maybe that is head in the clouds thinking, but I am hopeful.

Gina's duds September 8, 2011

OK to be hopeful, but there are serious emotions here.

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