Ladner United Church will not let recent acts of vandalism to a pair of pride flags deter them in spreading a message of love, peace and solidarity.
Ryan Hall, chair of the church council said they have approved the cost of a security camera outside the church with night vision.
“In the interim we also received a letter from the Prime Minister’s office with an offer to off-set some of the costs as well, Randy Boissonnault, MP and special advisor to the Prime Minister suggested the idea of a flag pole,” said Hall.
In June the church hung a pride flag outside the entrance to the 48th Ave. church which was vandalized within days of it going up.
News of that act of vandalism spread quickly around the community and was condemned by most. In response, both the City of Delta and Delta School District held ceremonies to raise Pride flags, the first in the City of Delta, while other community groups, churches and residents also showed their solidarity by also putting up pride flags.
The vandalized flag was signed by members of the church congregation and residents at-large at a Sunday service to show that acts of hate like this would not be tolerated.
Days later a second flag was vandalized again, prompting more outrage from the community.
Youth from the congregation then came together with their fellow friends and posted messages of love and peace in chalk art outside the church.
Hall said the messages of encouragement, love and solidarity from across Canada, from the USA and even from as far as Australia these past weeks have been amazing.
“I think the community involvement has been tremendous,” he said. “People have come up to me in the street and offered thanks for doing our best to support everyone in the community to be more inclusive. Businesses and community groups have offered financial support. Other churches, they may not put up a flag, put the support is there.
“Another important thing is this has sparked a lot of conversation in the community. Even though the act was very negative, as a community we can take something positive out of it.”
Hall said the church is encouraging the community to mark their calendars for Aug. 31 and to attend the second annual Delta Pride Picnic at Ladner Memorial Park, which will be a great family-friendly event and an excellent opportunity to celebrate diversity in Delta.
Delta police say the investigation into the incidents is on-going.