Congregation turns graffiti into something positive.
An LGBT-inclusive church in St. Petersberg Florida was the target of vandalism and instead of immediately taking it down they surrounded it with a message of love.
On Monday, The Allendale Methodist Church (AMC) posted on their Facebook page images of their lawn marquee in which someone spray-painted "gay pastor" over a message that encouraged people to approve an amendment that would restore felons' voting rights.
But if the vandal's intention was to write hate speech, the church quickly turned into something positive and even went further to educate them about violence against the community.
"Allendale was again the target of vandalism," the Facebook post reads. "LGBTQ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group. We will leave the spray paint up, surrounded by signs of love, to make visible the often invisible harm that the LGBTQ community receives every day."
As promised, the graffiti was not removed, instead, it was decorated with rainbow hearts and the mantra "Love always wins!"
In the Facebook post AMC also made it clear that the perpetrator should be arrested, and if they are, "we will fight for the restoration of their rights through the passage of Amendment 4."
This isn't the first time the church was the target of someone destroying their property, in July someone threw a brick through the sign and the community raised enough funds to have it replaced, "We also have cameras to install," they add.
Subscribers to their page applauded the church's handling of the situation and its inclusion of the community.
"I am agnostic," wrote Ryan Ritter. "And I love this church. Driving by every day, I can tell from the marquee alone that Allendale UMC and its congregation truly represent their faith as it was intended: to love and accept others.
"People say the problem with society is not enough religion, but the real issue is too much phony religion. Christianity is a religion of love and acceptance, but too many 'Christians' are using it as a weapon to spread hate. It makes me happy to see one church that really gets it!"
Janelle Montgomery wrote, "This is exactly what a church should be and yet there is hate. They handled it well."