Metro Weekly

Church Sign Broken After Rainbow Banners Erected on its Lawn

The church's rector says the church's insurance will likely not cover the cost to fix the sign.

Sign Damage Church of the Redeemer – Photo: Cynthia L Black

An LGBTQ-affirming church’s sign proclaiming “All Are Welcome” was broken in two over the weekend after the church erected a line of different colored banners, in the six colors of the original LGBTQ Pride flag, plus a seventh utilizing the colors of the transgender flag, on its front walkway.

The sign, which stands off to the side of the walkway leading up to the church’s main entrance, welcomes all people — gay and straight, liberal and conservative, transgender, and those of all racial backgrounds — to attend services at the church.

Rev. Cynthia Black, the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, in Morristown, New Jersey, told the local news site Morristown Green about the vandalism. However, she could not definitively say that the rainbow banners incited it.

“If, in fact, someone did this intentionally, then obviously, it’s a sad day for our community,” Black said. “But it’s not going to deter us from doing what we do. Love is stronger than hate. That’s a principle Redeemer has lived by for a very long time.”

This is not the first time the church has flown Pride-themed banners.

Typically, the rainbow-colored banners are erected in June to mark LGBTQ Pride Month. But the Church of the Redeemer erected theirs earlier, in commemoration of a lesbian parishioner who died from COVID-19.

Black notes that, in past years, passersby have stopped to photograph the colorful flags, even posing in front of them. They then see the church’s welcome sign and, regardless of whether they enter, understand its message.

Black said everything seemed fine when she left the church around 9 p.m. last Friday. But by Saturday morning, a person walking their dog saw the vandalized sign and informed officials of it.

While the church has no surveillance cameras, Black hopes that cameras from nearby businesses may have captured video footage of the vandals. 

While calling the vandalism “disconcerting” and “sad,” Black, who is gay, said she wasn’t particularly frightened about the incident.

As Morristown Green reports, there have been several other instances involving vandalism of local churches in recent years, though most have not been LGBTQ-related. 

Unfortunately, repairing or replacing the sign will likely be too expensive for the church. It cost $15,000 to install the sign in 2015, and Black is doubtful insurance will cover repair costs. 

“We operate on a deficit budget,” she said. “Just coming up with the deductible will be a challenge for us.”

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