News / Edmonton

Local church reaches out to LGBTQ community after homophobic posters removed from 118 Ave

St. Andrew's church has made flyers of their own.

Mark Chiang stands by posters put up by his parish earlier this week.

Michelle Guthrie/For Metro

Mark Chiang stands by posters put up by his parish earlier this week.

After hateful homophobic posters were plastered around 118 Ave last week, a local church is looking to spread a message of their own. 

Parishioners from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church took to the street Sunday to hang rainbow-clad posters reading: “God loves you. And so do we.”

Last week anonymous posters were hung around central Edmonton bearing the names of local churches, Bible scriptures, and hateful messages towards the LGBTQ community. Several of the churches have since told Metro they are not responsible for the messages.

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Although St. Andrew’s was not listed on the posters, Minister Mark Chiang said they felt an obligation to counter the message that local churches were homophobic. 

“The congregation here has been wonderfully supportive,” said Mark Chiang, the minister at St. Andrew’s. “(They have) a great love for the community.”

Chiang, who is openly gay, said the posters aren’t the first time he’s seen hate like this—but what was different this time was that people, like advocate Janis Irwin and people in his own church community, were speaking out.

St Andrew's posters are hanging all along 118 Ave.

Michelle Guthrie/For Metro

St Andrew's posters are hanging all along 118 Ave.

“I was encouraged by (the community’s) response to this,” he said. “You can’t just let this sort of stuff go, we should respond in some way. But it’s tricky because you don’t want to respond in a way that just fuels more homophobia.”

He said it’s important not to attack churches for their views, but wants people to know that many churches are becoming more welcoming to the LGBTQ community. 

“Things are changing,” he said. 

Chiang hopes the new posters will challenge other churches to question and talk about the issue in their own communities.

“I am worried about a young person seeing [the posters] and thinking they need to make a choice between their sexuality and their spirituality, when they don’t have to make that choice,” he said. 

“In a lot of churches it’s still a debate, but there’s a lot more love and education going on and increased awareness than what those posters showed.”

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