Maranatha as a gay/lesbian religious group was fortunate to be in a parent church such as The Riverside Church that was supportive. Many denominational lesbian and gay religious groups struggled to find non-hostile meeting places, planning independent lesbian and gay sympathetic worship services and funding.
At Riverside, Maranatha members worshiped God with all the congregation, and the ministers "expressed their excitement and happiness" that the group was formed. Maranatha members participated in programs and committees and had meeting rooms available. Therefore, energies could be directed to education, monthly programs and social activities. Bill Johnson stayed on to help organize the group.
Maranatha means "The Lord Cometh" and was used as a greeting of encouragement among the early persecuted Christians.
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