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Protesters rally against Awaken Church's Coronado debut, citing alleged anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments

Awaken Church faces protesters outside first preview service in Coronado
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jan 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-29 02:09:07-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Awaken Church's inaugural service at the Hotel del Coronado faced a backdrop of chants rather than traditional church bells, as protesters wielding LGBTQ+ flags and posters gathered outside Sunday afternoon.

“There’s freedom of religion and I don’t know why they're protesting,” said Lisa Dettmann, a church attendee.

Protesters said the church founders have posted hateful rhetoric against the LGBTQ+ community on social media. They also said the church’s political and social views would have a negative influence on the community.

“We want to let them know that we don’t want hate in our community," said protester Brian Trotier. "They're divisive. They can pack up and go someplace else.”

10News has reached out to the church for a response to these claims. One employee said they would not do interviews at this time.

Awaken Church, with six existing campuses in the county, is slated to open a Coronado campus, as mentioned on its website, with preview services commencing this year.

“We’re like a tight-knit family," said protester Skiter Chappell. "It's always been that way, we look out for one another. To think outsiders are going to come in and disrupt that is disturbing beyond words.”

The tension has resulted in a petition signed by 1,024 individuals, aiming to impede the church's expansion to the island.

“I think this is ridiculous that they're trying to accuse a church of hate,” Dettmann said.

“I’m literally here just to support them because this really bothered me," said Maggie Mathias, another church-goer. "I feel like you can’t be Christian. Being Christian is a crime now.”

Protesters said they will return whenever the church holds a service in Coronado, while some church-goers expressed a desire for open dialogue.

“Why don’t they want to hear our perspective? Why don't they want to talk to us? If dialect goes down the drain, that’s why we hate each other,” Mathias said.