In June, the Youth Group at First United Methodist Church of Redondo Beach celebrated another year of ministry at their annual Youth Banquet. Especially in light of the heart-wrenching story of the mass shooting in Orlando, they have been working to cultivate a different message of love and hope.
This past spring, when the Westboro Baptist folks planned to protest at Redondo Union High School, the youth wanted to do something to counter this message of hate. Some of them joined in an organized counter-protest the day of the protest. They also printed shirts with a message reminding everyone to “Love Thy Neighbor,” which the youth wore to school that week, and put a full-page ad in the school paper with the message that they believe God loves everybody.
Because other people wanted to join in sharing this message, they sold the shirts as a fundraiser, donating the money to the LGBT Center’s shelter for homeless youth. When Youth Director Stephen Hale sent the donation with this letter, he received a lovely note back from the Center.
It was a true demonstration of the people called “Methodists” of the California-Pacific Conference inspiring the world as passionate followers of Jesus Christ so all may experience God’s life-giving love.