Easter bunny protesters defend ambush activism at Tri-Cities church event

CHURCH HILL, TN (WJHL)- More than 1,000 people filled a field along Highway 11 W in Church Hill on Saturday.

Jessica Boggs said she was there for what her family calls an annual tradition.

This year she took her two-year-old nephew.

Photo of Jessica Boggs and her 2-year-old nephew at the Church Hill Easter egg hunt

“The inflatables, the Easter egg hunt, just everything, he had a blast,” Boggs said.

But Boggs said things took a turn when she heard what she described as screaming coming from the roadway.

“I was mad,” Boggs said.

It turns out the noise was coming from two people protesting the event, specifically the Easter bunny.

Both Angela Cummings, and Christine Weick were standing along the roadway while the Easter event was happening in Church Hill.

The women said they are independent Evangelists who travel across the country.

Cummings and Weick were shouting things at the crowd like, “Tell me what the bunny has done for you , and I will tell you what Christ has done for me.” and “Glorify the Easter bunny.”

Both Cummings and Weick sat down with us Monday afternoon to explain why they were at the church’s event.

“Our reason for being there was a rebuke to number one the church who put it on, and number two the parents who dragged their children to this pagan event,” Weick said.

Photo from a protest Saturday in front of a church in Bean Station, TN
Photo from a protest Saturday in front of a church in Bean Station, TN

“I don’t need to get 50 scriptures out to tell you why God is offended about the Easter bunny,” Cummings said.

Their message was enough to cause a disruption, and send Boggs packing.

“Whenever my 2-year-old nephew looked up at me asked me why they were being mean and screaming and I didn’t have a response, I was devastated,” Boggs said.

Pastor Chris Crabtree of First Freewill Baptist Church said his job was to keep everybody focused on the event.

“We are here to serve and support the community, and for the kids to have fun,” Crabtree said.

Pastor Crabtree even said he used it as a teaching tool to those in his congregation.

“I believe you are going to draw more flies with honey than vinegar, so I think our approach ministered to more people,” Crabtree said.

Pastor Crabtree said the protesters also showed up the next day, to preach outside of their Easter Sunday services.

He said there wasn’t a conflict because members of the church ignored them.

Pastor Crabtree released a full written statement about Saturday’s events below:

“We regret that the protesters did not enjoy their experience at our community outreach event. While we wholeheartedly agree that individuals have a right to protest, we vehemently disagree with doing so involving hateful rhetoric, personal insults and confrontational methods. Many of our church members extended offers of food and fellowship to the protesters. Unfortunately an individual unaffiliated with the church took offense to some of the things that were said to the children and responded by ripping one of their signs. We do not condone those actions. To show our sincerity in love, we offer to pay to replace the paper sign. We will shake the dust off of our shoes concerning this matter and continue serving the families of Church Hill in the name of Christ.”
-Dr. Crabtree
Senior Pastor

Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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