Eight Denton churches pledged to be inclusive of the LGBT community in an ad that ran in Sunday’s Denton Record-Chronicle.

The Rev. Jeff Hood took out the ad for Easter Sunday to show the number of churches who are supportive and welcoming after he sent about 60 churches letters asking them to be inclusive on Ash Wednesday. He said the letters started conversation with church leaders and led to the ad’s creation.

The ad entitled, “We Believe in the Universality of God’s Love,” states that the listed churches will “be open and celebrating of persons of diverse sexual orientation and identities” and encourages other churches to do so as well.

Since the Ash Wednesday letters went out, Hood said he’s met with several churches and their pastors to speak to them about the importance of being welcoming of LGBT people. He said he had 16 churches that agreed to participate in the ad, but many backed out last minute. However, he expected only a few to actually participate.

“I think for some churches up here pastors have diverse congregants to satisfy and it seems like often more conservative congregants are heard,” he said. “So churches that are on [the ad] are willing to take a hit, if a hit comes.”

Hood plans to continue to meet with church leaders about inclusively and would like to publish another statement in six months or next Easter to show the growing number of churches in Denton who welcome LGBT members.

The churches that participated are: Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Cooper Creek United Methodist Church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Refuge Ministry at the University of North Texas, Harvest Metropolitan Community Church, Lutheran Campus Ministry at Denton, Christ The Servant Lutheran Church, the Church at Mable Peabody’s Beauty Parlor and Chainsaw Repair.