Christian Today reports…
“LGBT groups have raised funds to buy a New York City church previously known for its firm opposition to homosexuality.
Atlah Worldwide Church is to be sold in a public auction on the orders of a state judge after amounting more than $1m in unpaid bills and tax liens.
Two LGBT groups are raising funds in the hopes of buying the site which has displayed stridently anti-gay messages such as “Harlem is a sodomite free zone” and “Jesus would stone homos”.
A nearby LGBT-friendly church, Rivers of Living Water, hopes to turn the site in to a permanent venue for the parish.
However another group, the Ali Forney Center, is hoping to use the space to expand its homeless LGBT youth shelter.
“I think it would represent a real healing of a terrible wound that’s been in that neighborhood,” said Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center.
Siciliano said that every night the centre turns away about 170 to 200 youth who need shelter.
“Every bed we are able to obtain is precious,” said Siciliano. “And I have to say, it is a very rare thing for a local neighborhood [to ask] for a homeless youth housing program.”
The Ali Forney Center has raised over half of its $200,000 target and Rivers of Living Water has raised $18,000 on its fundraising page.
However Rev David Manning, former-pastor of Atlah church, has denied that the church owes any money.
“I think it’s just an uninformed move by people trying to do a land grab,” Manning said.
He added that he did not care that more than $100,000 had been raised by LGBT groups hoping to purchase the building.
“I don’t care what they do,” Manning said. “People do a lot of things.”