Christian Protesters Barge Into LGBT-Inclusive Church, Tell Parishioners They’re “Going To Hell”

The demonstrators also called the church a "house of Satan."

A group of Christian demonstrators barged into an LGBT-inclusive church in D.C. over the weekend to protest the congregation’s appointment of a lesbian couple as head co-pastors.

The small contingent of protesters stormed through the doors of Cavalry Baptist Church moments before its 11 am Sunday service was set to begin. Carrying signs, the group of seven condemned the church for its inclusion of LGBT individuals in the clergy.

The protesters refused to leave until police were called and re-formed just outside the church, where they continued to aggressively engage with church members.

“It was pretty difficult to get them to stop and leave the sanctuary,” explained Cavalry associate pastor Elijah Zehyoue. “Outside they were still pretty aggressive with members and visitors and random passersby who looked like they may have been coming to the church.”


The group’s frustration was inspired by Cavalry’s announcement earlier this month that it’d be bringing on Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen as senior pastors.

The couple, who married in 2014, were ordained into the ministry by the First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina where they’ve been serving as chaplains since 2015. They’ll begin their work at Cavalry on February 26.

Although the demonstrators didn’t name the new pastors in their protest, they did say that Cavalry members were “going to Hell” for welcoming LGBT pastors and that the church itself was the “house of Satan.”

“While the language was not comfortable, it was still basically peaceful,” said church moderator Becky Vaughn. “There was no effort to do harm, and they did move out to the sidewalk.”


Once they moved outside, the service went as planned, with associate pastor Erica Lea delivering a sermon on unity. In her homily, Shea emphasized the importance of acknowledging and celebrating difference in building solidarity with groups such as the LGBT community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Immediately following the sermon, members of the church gathered for an annual meeting, where they unanimously decided to become a “sanctuary church,” which means the congregation will help to provide housing for immigrants who face deportation.

Though members had been discussing the move for a few months, Zehyoue said the protest made the decision that much clearer for the church.

“As disturbing as it was, the protest was a good moment where many of our church members were energized and found the presence of the Holy Spirit on the steps of our church and that was a powerful moment,” said Zehyoue.

The Cavalry Baptist Church cut ties with the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012 after disagreeing with the group on a few key issues, including its opposition to homosexuality. Calvary also ordained Allyson Robinson in 2014, who is believed to be the first transgender Baptist minister.

h/t: Baptist News

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