The Hell We’ve Been Through
"Homosexuals do not deserve a Christian church"
Vision of Hope Metropolitan Community Church, a LGBT-friendly church, needed to relocate to a new home in 1993. Vision of Hope purchased a property located at 130 E. Main St in Mountville, Pennsylvania on July 31. Mountville residents attempted “to discourage this group from moving in.” Paul Dansereau, a local, told Lancaster’s Intelligencer Journal that “homosexuals do not deserve a Christian Church.” Borough councilmen attempted to halt the transaction and the “spread” of homosexuality.
Rev. Mary L. Merriman, pastor of Vision of Hope from 1987 to 1995, spoke on the church’s behalf during this difficult period. One day, her friends “arranged for getaway cars” in case she was attacked while reassuring the Mountville residents at a town hall meeting. While she calmed most of the locals, she still received threats. Ruth, Rev. Merriman’s partner at the time, wanted to bring a gun for protection on the first day of church at the Mountville location. Rev. Merriman responded, “You’re not coming in my church bringing a gun, are you absolutely out of your mind? I promise you, I’m not here to martyr. If anybody stands up and points a gun at me, I’ll duck.”