Yesterday Daily RFT
caught up with Pastor Rick Meyer
of the Maplewood United Church of Christ. Meyer has made something of a name for himself lately with the messages he posts outside his church on Bellevue Avenue. One of those signs last month, reading "Contrary to popular belief I love all people, gay and straight. -- God"
, generated thousands of hits and dozens of comments when Daily RFT
posted a picture of it online.
This week, the minister again offers a new sign suggesting that God even loves those that many people refer to as "illegals." Daily RFT: So, Pastor Meyer, what's the deal with these signs?
Before I got into the ministry in 2001 I was a manager for Circuit City. One day a colleague of mine came in to work telling me that she'd just driven by a sign outside a church with an inspirational message. She was going through a real rough spell and that sign totally changed her outlook for the day. As a pastor, I like the idea of using the sign to speak to people as opposed to just advertising this week's sermon or church events.Not many churches would put out a sign saying that God loves homosexuals.
We are an affirming church. The UCC was the first American church to ordain a woman minister, African-American minister and openly gay pastor. Yeah, but still. Didn't some of your congregation take offense to that first sign?
I don't think so. I've been here since February when the congregation asked me to become its pastor. I've been out as a gay man for over two years now. I was pastor at another church when I made that decision. It was not easy. But here they knew that about me from the beginning. The letters I received from that first sign were overwhelming and demonstrated to me that a lot of people -- gay and straight -- have been hurt by the church. We want to change that.Where do you get the inspiration for your signs?
Honestly, the "God loves gays" message I saw on Facebook and thought to myself, 'Now that
would make a great sign.' Since it was so popular we decided to continue along the same theme with "God loves people of all colors" and "God loves immigrants." We've got more planned, too. But let's not ruin the surprise.Related Content: God Loves People of All Hues, Church Sign ConfirmsGod Does Love Gays, Church Sign Confirms