The Lititz Chooses Love Pride Fest may be on hold this year after the Lititz Moravian Church board of elders allegedly voted last week against allowing the event to happen in Lititz Springs Park.
Two separate emails provided to The Lancaster Patriot show messages allegedly sent last week by Kellye Martin, events manager for Lititz Springs Park, to the park board of trustees. In the emails, Martin said she learned that the Moravian Board of Elders and Trustees voted to not allow the Lititz Chooses Love, the local LGBTQ activist group, to hold its pride festival in the park on June 17, 2023.
In the email, Martin calls on the park board of trustees to “take action and stand against this overreach by the Moravian Board.”
“The Park Board is in place to handle the operations and organization of the Park grounds, and simply because the Moravian Church owns the grounds, does not give them the authority to determine organizational policy or procedures,” Martin’s e-mail said. “I have asked for documentation showing that the Moravians are allowed to overturn a Park Board vote, and have never been presented with anything to support that claim.”
Lititz Springs Park, which is owned by the Lititz Moravian Church, was originally maintained by the church. However, in 1956, the management of the park was handed over to a board of trustees.
The current conflict pits the church’s board of elders against the park’s board of trustees. Last August, the park’s board of trustees voted to allow Lititz Chooses Love to host their pride event once again at the park in June 2023. Now, it appears the board of elders is attempting to override that decision.
“I will not be put in a position where we should have to determine who can and cannot rent the Park grounds for no reason given,” Martin said in her email. “Nor is it right for another Board to come in and overturn a decision made by those who know and care for the Park the best.”
In the email, Martin said she met last week with Parker Webb, president of Lititz Chooses Love, to discuss the church’s decision on the festival. A second email sent Friday by Martin to the park board said Lititz Chooses Love “requested a letter in writing from the Moravian Church stating that the event was to be canceled and a reason given as to why.”
Lititz Chooses Love hosts various events in the county promoting homosexuality and transgenderism, including a 2022 Coming Out Festival which featured drag entertainers.
“As of now, they have not received the letter and are going forward with planning their event,” Martin said in her email. “The last communication they have from LSP is that the event was approved and a contract would be sent in February. The contract is written but has not been sent. They are requesting the contract early next week, and if the Church does not confirm in writing that the event is canceled, I see no reason not to give them the contract and allow the event to move forward.”
Attempts by The Lancaster Patriot to reach Martin and the Lititz Moravian Church board of elders were unsuccessful as of Monday afternoon.
The pride fest last year at Lititz Springs Park attracted hundreds of visitors, including children, teenagers and adults. More than a dozen men from Independence Reformed Bible Church, a Lancaster County church, conducted an outreach at the event, garnering media attention and false accusations from LNP | LancasterOnline regarding signage held by the church members.
[Update: On March 10, the Lititz Moravian Congregation Board of Trustees confirmed that the board has denied the use of Lititz Springs Park for a pride festival. For story, click here.]