Religious group keeping annual conference in Charlotte despite HB2

- While HB2 has many saying no to North Carolina, one religious group is saying yes.

“In spite of the negative attention north Carolina has received surrounding HB2, the leaders stood in solidarity as we spoke of the spiritual and the economic impact of aim conference in our city," Bishop-Designate Dr. Michael Anthony Stevens said.

The Church of God in Christ tells FOX 46 Charlotte they still plan to hold their 2017 annual "Auxiliary in Ministry" or AIM conference despite many saying HB2 is discriminatory towards the LGBT community.

"We will not compromise our values nor will we be bullied into a position that we do not agree with to allow men to have access to our women's bathrooms," Auxiliary Bishop for North Carolina Patrick Lane Wooden Sr.

The church is one of the oldest in the world with churches in 82 countries and about 6.5 million members. Here in North Carolina there are 240 churches. With those numbers, they're positive they can offset the negative impact from HB2.

"We definitely don't want to see income and business revenue leaves our region, however. Our city is rich in resiliency. We will be blessed by god to make up the difference," Stevens said

The Church of God in Christ members hope that keeping their conference here sparks other businesses to do the same and come back to North Carolina.

“We look to bring some good to this city. We look to bring some good to the state," Superintendent for North Carolina Church of God in Christ Darryl L. Grant said.

This year's AIM conference was held in Cincinnati, Ohio in July and brought about 14 million dollars of revenue they hope to do the same for charlotte and  have a message for those who might not agree with them.

Their AIM conference brings about 10-15,000 people to cities across the world.

— Yolian Ortiz FOX46 (@YolianFOX46) August 10, 2016 >

"We will great them with Christian love and tolerance. We recognize that everyone has the right of free speech but that also includes us," Wooden said.

Governor McCrory released a statement applauding their announcement to stay in the queen city stating:

“This is just another example of how North Carolina continues to be a global destination for jobs, business, tourists and talent.  Today’s announcement by convention leaders, and others like it, will continue to support Charlotte’s booming hotel industry.”

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in -- includes Advertiser Stories