‘God takes pride in you’: Church takes out billboard above Hillcrest bar

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SAN DIEGO -- Mission Gathering Christian Church, a self-described "radically inclusive" place of worship in North Park, has purchased a billboard on top of a popular gay bar in the heart of Hillcrest that declares, "Radically Inclusive: God takes pride in you, so do we."

The church says the billboard is intentionally positioned along the route of the San Diego LGBT+ Pride Parade, scheduled for July 14, and is meant to spread the church's message that all groups are welcome in their congregation -- including those that "have traditionally been marginalized by the evangelical church."

“It’s good. Anytime we have a positive message right now, in these days, we’ll take it. I’m happy to see something like that," said Tony Krohn, a Hillcrest resident.

“For far too long, Christians have been known for who we are against. We’re afraid of difference. We only desire to make the world conform to our image of what is right and good,” said Brandan Robertson, a pastor at the church. “At Missiongathering, we believe that in our diversity that we best reflect God’s divinity -- that when we amplify the beauty of our differences, all of us are challenged to expand our perspective and become more loving, more mindful, and more kind.”

Robertson said the billboard is meant to "stand in stark contrast" to the signs that "many other evangelical groups will be holding" at Pride parades around the country: "Their message isn't good news for anyone -- it's a distortion of the teachings of Jesus."

Church leadership says that members of the congregation also plan to march in the mid-month Pride celebration.

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