Last weekend, a vandalsim was committed against Morristown's Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, in which it is known for their inclusivity for the LGBTQ community.
The vandalized sign, which was next to the path leading to the church's main entrance, served as a warm invitation to all people to attend the services. It was posted in a place where it could be seen by people of different backgrounds, races, political viewpoints, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
Morristown's LGBTQ-Affirming Church Faces Vandalism
The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer's rector, Rev. Cynthia Black, informed Morristown Green, a local news outlet, of the vandalism. She was unable to conclusively say that the rainbow banners caused the act of vandalism. Black lamented the negative effects on their neighborhood and voiced disappointment about the potential for a purposeful act. The community, he underlined, is resilient, and such actions won't stop them from carrying on with their activities. Black emphasized the power of love over hatred as a principle that the Redeemer has always championed.
According to the article shared in Metro Weekly, the church has previously hung banners with Pride-related themes. The rainbow-hued banners are typically erected in June to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month. But earlier this year, the Church of the Redeemer decided to put them on display in honor of a lesbian parishioner who had died from COVID-19. Black remarked that in years past, onlookers had paused to snap pictures of the colorful flags, occasionally even posing in front of them. Whether or not people enter the church, when they see the welcoming sign, they comprehend its meaning.
Last Friday, Black claimed that when she left the church at about 9 p.m., everything seemed normal. On the other hand, a dog walker on Saturday morning came upon the vandalized sign and immediately alerted church authorities. Black thinks that surrounding businesses' cameras may have recorded video of the vandals even though the church doesn't have surveillance equipment.
Black, a gay woman, acknowledged the disturbing and heartbreaking aspect of the damage but claimed that she did not personally find it frightening. There have been a number of incidents of vandalism involving neighborhood churches in recent years, albeit most of these have not included LGBTQ people. Unfortunately, the church will likely incur costs to repair or replace the sign. Black is skeptical that insurance will pay for the costs of repair or replacement, given that the sign's installation in 2015 cost $15,000 in total.
Other Stories Regarding Attacks on Churches that Promote Inclusivity
In a similar story, A peaceful protest against the First Congregational Church's LGBTQ inclusivity stance in Henderson County turned tense, disrupting services. According to the shared article in Christianity Daily, the situation escalated when a local homeowner confronted an anti-LGBTQ protester.
The incident, filmed by another homeowner, sparked several 911 calls, and the police were summoned. Following this, Reverend Dr. Dwight A. Moody of Providence Baptist Church, which plans an LGBTQ outreach event, warned of similar protests. The confrontation highlights wider societal divisions around LGBTQ acceptance.