Church sends message of inclusion during Houston Pride parade

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's a place where people seek peace and acceptance. Instead of turning to the church for support, Saint Paul's United Methodist Church in Houston is reaching out to the gay community. Jennifer West is organizing the church march in the Gay Pride Parade on Saturday.

"After what just happened in Orlando it's very important to us for people to know they are welcome here," said West.

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Church members are getting ready to march sending messages of inclusion on beads they will throw out. Big crowds are expected at the festival, after nearly 100 thousand people attended last year.

"I've had friends who have struggled both in the community and with their families," said church member, Kevin Page.

Page is organizing the march that will happen downtown Saturday night. White tents and balloons went up outside of City Hall for the festival filled with food planned for during the festival.

"I think it's important to show unity in the community and our church is very welcoming to everybody," said Page.

Following the Orlando nightclub tragedy, more police officers will work security on the streets.

"There's going to be plenty of officers out there. We are in constant contact with our federal partners there are no credible threats to our city in regards to this event," said Interim HPD Police Chief, Martha Montalvo.
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The Gay Pride Festival begins Saturday at noon in front of City Hall. The parade is scheduled to begin at 8:30pm.
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