The commissary at Highfield Road Gospel Hall must have been fresh out of mind-your-own-business last night, because nine of God’s hand-picked mouthpieces allegedly found themselves outside of the home of a Leslieville gay couple, praying for the men’s unsolicited salvation.
Residents of the Dundas and Greenwood area stepped up in support of the unidentified targets, asking the holy rollers to move on and leave the neighbourhood in peace.
“We have an authority to preach the gospel,” claims one worshipper in a video clip (above) captured by nearby resident Geoffrey Skelding. “We’ve been doing this seven years.”
Though the church members didn’t explicitly admit that they had chosen that particular house because it housed a gay couple, Skelding says that many street residents are convinced that’s the reason, especially based on the church group’s history of door-to-door evangelism on the street.
“Talking with my neighbours, I learned that a lesbian couple left the area because of this group,” Skelding told Torontoist. “They do come to the area and knock on doors and tell people they are sinners.”
The congregation is based a few streets away at Dundas and Highfield, and has been worshipping in that location since November of 1934.
“You don’t know what love means,” admonishes a bystander in the video, after one of the church members vows to return “in the will of God.”
What makes this incident noteworthy is its context within Toronto’s relatively tolerant religious commixture: overzealous evangelism is uncommon here, and this type of interference is seen by many as a form of harassment. Torontonians are known for welcoming people of all beliefs into the cultural fabric, but we’re also protective of our citizens’ right to live in peace.
And for that, can we get an Amen?
Thanks to reader Yasmary Mora for the tip.