Controversial comments made in a church news release are marring a brand new church location rising from the ashes of an old property at 5th Avenue and Marion Street in Seattle. Mars Hill church is trying to reach out to new communities, but those attempts recently hit a road block on Capitol Hill.
Mars Hill left its Belltown location late last year to make way for the new downtown location. But in a press release about the location, the church said:
“Also, being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill.”
Mars Hill has an openly strong stance against allowing gay members in the church. The release set off a firestorm online and in the alternative press.
Sarah Toce with Social Outreach Seattle says she appreciates the church trying to reach out to her community, but she doesn’t like what the press release implied and she doesn’t like the church’s opinion on gay rights.
“How do you help someone, how do you claim to help someone when you’re basically slapping them down and saying, you’re less than, you’re unequal?” she asked.
The church only provided the original release when asked for clarification. No other questions were answered. The church had a successful opening weekend with more than 1,500 people attending Sunday service. The church hopes to partner with AIDS-related groups in Seattle.