'We are open to all' - reverend responds after anti-LGBTQ note is left on altar
PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:26 15 December 2019
The reverend of St John's Church in Felixstowe says he is "heartened" by the kind response of his parishioners - after an anti-LGBTQ note was left on the altar.
St John's flies two flags outside the church most Saturdays - one in support of the LGBTQ community and one in support of the trans community.
However, on Sunday morning Reverend Andrew Dotchin discovered a handwritten note on the altar opposing the flags.
It read: "The worldly flags of Satan you fly outside this building are not of God."
Rev Dotchin posted a picture of the note on Facebook soon after, letting people know everyone is welcome at the church - saying they remain "Open to God, Open to all".
Since posting the message he has been flooded with support, with hundreds saying they support the church flying the flags.
Among the comments, one person said: "Thank you for keeping it flying despite the adversity.
"Shows like this make me feel safer to hold my girlfriend's hand in public."
Another wrote: "My son is part of the LGBTQ community and was extremely excited to see this little acceptance the other day so thank you for making him feel like he can belong."
Another parishioner added: "My love goes to all at the church this morning. "I was taught God is love and those people who spread hate need to read their bible.
"Thank you for providing a beautiful safe space for everyone."
Rev Dotchin said he was delighted by the kindhearted response from the community and from those on social media.
"I originally found the note on the altar," he said.
"I worry about people who hate for hate's sake.
"One of my elderly parishioners said they were worried about the quote because it is not who we are at the church.
"I am heartened by the reaction on social media.
"For too long the church has dragged its heels on the issue.
"If you feel left you are left out by the community for whatever reason, come on in.
"We do our bit to gently wave a flag for LGBTQ and trans people to let people know we are open to everyone.
"Our logo at the church 'Open for All' was here before I got here and remains true today."