Images via Twitter

ELTON John once sang ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’ – but a group of Christians gathered at the weekend in Manila to tell participants at a Pride parade how sorry they were for their religion’s demonisation of the country’s LGBT communities.

According to this report, members of the Church of Freedom in Christ Ministries stood at the main entrance of the parade holding signs of apology.

Their banners read:

We’re here to apologize for the ways that we as Christians have harmed the LGBT community.

Some of the signs had more personal sentiments. One man’s stated

Can we hug you?

According to parade-goer Kohlin Lallabban, many took the group up on the offer. Lallabban said

It was so genuine and most of us got teary eyed when we saw them.

The demonstration was part of the church’s “I’m Sorry” campaign, through which members seek to apologise on behalf of their fellow Christians for the way biblical writings have been used against the LGBT community.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the church wrote:

We do not need the recognition of people but the heart-warming response of those who accepted our sincere apologies motivates and encourages us to continue doing this mission of our church.

Lallaban thinks the act means an exceptional amount to the Filipino LGBT community, which has often been at odds with the nation’s heavily Catholic culture.

It was just so empowering to have that kind of support from the very people who shunned us away.