When anti-gay protesters tried to attack an LGBT-friendly church in Geneva, Illinois this month, a local parishioner rallied neighborhood troops to come save the day.
Colin Campbell said he noticed seven men standing on the sidewalk outside the First Congregational Church of Geneva last weekend and immediately knew what they were trying to do.
“I was hopeful this group wouldn’t show up again,” Campbell told the Kane County Chronicle. “I walked over to see who they were and they were asking me if I was a follower of Jesus Christ and gave me a flier that said, ’Love Kills Pride.’ I said, ’Thank you very much’ and walked away and called my wife.”
Campbell recently teamed up with another parishioner to set up a list of people who asked to be notified if the church needed help in situations like this. After calling his wife to launch the email and text chain, he says people began to show up within five minutes.
“Within about 30 minutes, there were probably 50 people there,” he said, adding that people came from surrounding towns to show their support as well.
The anti-gay group first came to the church last month, warning that its gay-friendly stance was against the teachings of the Bible. The next Sunday, around 300 people stood in front of the church to ensure that the group of bigots did not return.
After successfully fighting off the homophobes for a couple of weeks, the email chain was created to help enlist the team in the case of future incidents.
“I never anticipated this level of support,” parishioner Carolyn Fabian told the Kane County Chronicle. “They [the anti-gay activists] were right at the first step and I was trying to figure out how to push them back, and these guys just made a wall and were chanting, ‘Love wins,’ and they backed off all the way to the grass, and we were able to get people into the church okay. It was fantastic.”