Welcome to Mars
  • Michelle Mitchell
  • Welcome to Mars
Over 240 people have already signed up to support a Saturday morning dancing and kissing protest at the doors of Mars Hill Church, an anti-gay Evangelical church setting up in the heart of lefty Southeast Portland.

But it looks like the activists may be kissing with no one to watch: Mars Hill Portland announced today on its website that it is cancelling it's planned opening day event this Saturday, September 10th. A new opening day has not been posted.

Mars Hill's ostensible reason is that the event is the same day as the Belmont Street Fair. Given the tight parking in the neighborhood, that's a legitimate concern. But I also wonder whether it has something to do with the serious backlash against the church since I broke the news of its new digs last week.

Here's the statement from their website, they're definitely looking to become involved in the neighborhood:

We first planned this coming Saturday’s event many months ago having no idea that we would come to own a building in the Belmont neighborhood. It turns out this weekend is the annual Belmont Street Fair where most of Belmont St. is closed for the day and the whole community comes out to celebrate. We really want to be good neighbors and there is no way to avoid a major parking mess under these circumstances. For this reason we are calling off our event this Saturday and encourage those of you in the area to attend the street fair and support the community. We are also assembling a team to help tear down the event and clean up the neighborhood Saturday evening. Stay tuned for more details on when we plan to launch weekly services.