Some time overnight between July 1 and 2, the pride flag at Summerland United Church was stolen.
In early June the church hung the pride flag to symbolize inclusiveness to the 2SLGBTQAI+ community. The flag was initially hung at the church’s bell tower, high on the building.
Because of the strong winds at the tower, the flag was often tangled so the church moved the flag to the overhang above the front doors to the building.
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On the morning of July 2, the flag was missing. It had been there the previous evening.
Anne Ellis, student minister at the church, said one of the hooks was gone and a single grommet from the flag was on the other hook. Ellis believes the flag was torn down and taken from the church. She said the flag was low enough for people to reach it easily.
Ellis said the church sees the removed flag as an act of vandalism.
“This act of hate is hard to stomach because this community is generally so welcoming and supportive of diversity and inclusion,” she said.
She said the church is working to have the designation of an affirming church within the United Church of Canada. The denomination grants this designation to churches that have taken steps to show support to people who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour as well as those who are 2SLGBTQAI+.
She added that the church will continue its commitment to inclusivity.
“You are beloved, whoever you are,” she said. “We will continue to be a welcoming, safe space in Summerland.”
Members of the church plan to continue to display a pride flag in the future, she said.
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