05/28/2015 07:30 EDT | Updated 05/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan church minister asks forgiveness from LGBT community

A letter asking the LGBT community for forgiveness by a United Church minister has touched a nerve with thousands of Canadians.

Rev. Jim Tenford, of St. Andrew's Church in Moose Jaw, Sask., posted the article on the community's Pride website on the weekend. 

"Another important part of Christianity is forgiveness and so I ask you something which maybe I have no right to ask. I ask that you forgive the church and those of us who claim to follow the way of Christ. As in so many other matters of civil rights that humanity has struggled with, the church has often been slow to get on board, but once we do, we can be powerful allies."

Tenford said he posted the article to mark Pride Week in his city. Now, he is hearing from people across Canada about the letter. So many people clicked on it, the website went down. 

"They found it refreshing to see that church is not only welcoming, but we're willing to stand up and publicly declare we're welcoming," he told CBC Saskatchewan's Blue Sky.

One poster on the Moose Jaw Pride Facebook page wrote: "I am really moved by this letter. As someone who has experienced a lot of rejection from my home church(es), it is incredible to be supported in this way!"

Tenford says his church has worked hard to become a welcoming place. 

"It bewilders me, it seems that churches being welcoming is an odd thing. In my mind it should be normal."

He hopes churches in general and the LGBT community can come to some sort of reconciliation.

"A church being welcoming should be like a hospital that heals," Tenford says.