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Reverend Uses Church Signs To Spread Messages Of Love And Inclusion To The World

Most churches feature marquee signs out front of the building to display messages to both their congregation and passers-by.

These are typically announcements regarding church events (like an upcoming bake sale or potluck dinner), or they may even be specific passages pulled from the Bible that the church feels are particularly timely.

But one church in Oregon is using its sign to display political messages in an effort to preach love and inclusion.

Reverend Adam Ericksen changes the sign on the lawn of his church every week.

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But according to CNN, he opts to skip out on posting the usual bake sale announcements or Bible quotes in favor of creating more topical messages for everyone to see.

And he makes sure people know these messages aren't just for the members of Clackamas United Church in Milwaukie, Oregon.

For instance, Rev. Ericksen recently used the sign to advocate for Harriet Tubman to be on the $20 bill.

In an Instagram post, the church explained that Harriet Tubman has been left off the bill "because of the ideology of white supremacy that continues to suppress our black siblings."

Another sign promoted the inclusion and acceptance of immigrants into the country.

This sign came on the heels of President Donald Trump's proposal for a new immigration system which would replace all current family and employment-based immigration preference categories with an award system, allocating points based primarily on age and education.

Last week, while "heartbeat" abortion bills were becoming law in several American states, Ericksen used this momentum to advocate for trans rights.

His timely sign simply but poignantly reminded everyone that transgender people also have heartbeats.

About a year and a half ago, Ericksen took over leading the church when it only had about 30 consistent attendees.

Unsplash | Karl Fredrickson

Now, after using the church's marquee sign to spread his messages of love and acceptance throughout the community, that number has nearly doubled with between 50 and 60 people filing into the church every week.

Ericken said people are "thirsty to know they are loved" and has said the reaction to his signs have been positive.

Sometimes he posts Biblically-inspired messages, such as one in which he quotes Ephesians to remind everyone "what Jesus does with walls", likely in reference to Trump's proposed wall separating America and Mexico.

The only criticism he's received so far about his signs is that some have said they're too political.

Unsplash | James Coleman

However, this is exactly what Ericksen wants his signs to be.

"Jesus preached the kingdom of God, and this was politically loaded message," he said. "His harshest message was for religious leaders who marginalized people."

Some people outside of his community have reached out to voice their support for the signs.

"We've gotten hundreds of messages, including from transgender people who say they wish they had a church like this in their area," Ericksen said. "In every area there are pockets thirsting for this message of radical inclusion."

Ericksen said his messages of inclusion are inspired by his mother (not pictured).

Unsplash | Jordan Whitt

He believes it was her faith that saved her during her battle with cancer while he was a teenager.

After her diagnosis, when he asked if she was afraid, his mother would reply that she wasn't, saying, "Jesus will save me."

Some of his signs are also straightforward and blunt to get their messages across.

This one states the facts outright ("7,100 hate crimes in 2017") and insists that this is a "national emergency that needs our attention."

Like any pastor, Ericksen simply wants to spread his message through his community, but the rest of the world is picking up on these messages, too.

Several photos of his signs have gone viral on Facebook with people praising Clackamas United Church for its political, pro-trans, and anti-racist messages.

The latest sign advocating for Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill has been particularly popular on Facebook.

One person commented on the photo, "Thank you for helping me set aside the prejudices instilled from organized religon when they clearly had done my familia wrong."

h/t: CNN