Self-proclaimed missionaries cause stir at Canby High School
"I think it's disgusting…'God hates sinners' is the biggest sign I've seen yet," said Canby High School student Madison Glenn as a group of men stood across from the school parking lot holding signs and using megaphones to yell messages to the students.
When the group of men first arrived on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 21, they were on school property; and Canby Police showed to force them off the grounds and monitor the situation.
The group is called "Gospel Invasion Ministries." They are self-proclaimed "missionaries" hailing from Michigan. They are in town to drop in and preach against compassion at a compassion-focused conference called Compassion to Action, happening at the Oregon Convention Center this week, according to a group member, who wanted to be referred to only by his first name, Ryan.
"We go to a lot of different high schools," Ryan said. "We're preaching at an event in Portland, and so there's a 'Compassion for Action' or something like that, so we're preaching against that and that it's false."
At Canby High School, Gospel Invasion attracted quite a crowd, and their message was clear: repent.
"Nobody is telling them about eternity in here," Ryan said, pointing at the high school. "So by God's grace, we get to do that. And this is the best way that we can do it. To be able to reach as many people and to go to as many high schools on a day to day basis is the best way that God showed us how to do this."
But Glenn, one of the students gathered in the crowd, found the message "disgusting." She identifies as religious, and said that she believes, "God loves all of his children."
"Not in front of a school…not telling us God hates us," Glenn said. "Maybe use positive things to draw us in, because if it was something better like, 'Please repent,' that's totally fine. But 'God hates sinners' is the biggest sign I've seen yet."
She further called the group's invasive approach "a disruption" and "ridiculous."
Despite the message that came across to hearers, Ryan contended that Gospel Invasion does not intend to spread hate towards groups of people.
"Sin. We hate sin," Ryan said. "We hate the sin that we once had to serve.
"We're not here to condemn anybody," Ryan added, "we're telling them how to get out of condemnation, and it's a beautiful thing."
The scene caused people in nearby parking lots to blare their car alarms in attempt to drown out the yelling coming from the megaphones.