LGBTQ+ friendly church is target of vandalism

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

On Thursday Nov. 30 a local Waterloo church was vandalized with threatening  biblical verses.

Parkminster United Church is an affirming congregation which means they are educated on topics such as inclusivity. Parkminster is known by the community to be an LGBTQ+ friendly church.

“The latest occurrence happened last Thursday Nov. 30 on church property, it was discovered in the morning by our custodian first at our front door step and main entrance of our church,” Heather Power, minister at Parkminster, said.

“Then as he surveyed the property the same reference was sprayed in our parking lot where we have our pride flag near Erb street, in both areas of our church it was a reference to Romans 1:32 and that was all that was [graffiti] there.”

The biblical reference is translated to reference “God’s” righteous decree against “sinners.”

“They know Gods decree that those who practice such things deserve to die yet they not only do they practice them but even applaud others who practice them,” Power said.

“That verse was really perceived as a threat.”

“This is our second instance of graffiti this month. A month ago we had a different reference to the book of Romans, and with the words [graffiti] the church shall remain holy, it was thought at the time that the event coincides with an LGBTQ ally potluck that was on our church sign,” Power said.

“The community is recognizing that, in a strange way the graffiti here has really put it out here to this local community that were here we want be a safe space for everybody and we want everyone to feel like they are welcomed here.”

The church is handling the vandalism incidents by focusing more on community engagement and reclaiming the words used by the vandal, which said, “The church shall remain holy.”

Although the mural did not turn out as planned, the church has an upcoming project which they hope will occur in the new year.

“The first time this happened the church decided to reclaim the words ‘The church shall remain holy’ which resulted in a community event [where people] from different faith communities and those in the community at large [participated in the painting] of a mural to reclaim those words,” Power said.

“The work that we do here, our inclusiveness and our affirming, we believe that is holy work. Unfortunately, because it was on the ground and the weather this time around isn’t great the paint wouldn’t adhere … [therefore] it was removed.”

The church used this event to promote allyship within the community. The community has recognized that although the graffiti is wrong the church itself is not changing its inclusive views because of a negative criminal action.

“Other local churches have reached out to us, and these people believe in the allyship of [the] LGBTQ [community]. We’ve have a really wonderful response from everybody around us trying to remind us that the work we are doing is good work, the community is recognizing that,” Power said.

“The community is recognizing that, in a strange way the graffiti here has really put it out here to this local community that were here we want be a safe space for everybody and we want everyone to feel like they are welcomed here.”

Parkminster emphasizes that their church is a safe space for everyone to come in and practice their faith and receive support even with these events occurring.

“[It’s about] taking the action to ensure everybody that has been hurt or marginalized can come here and know that they are safe and they are truly welcomed,” Power said.

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