A few months ago, members of the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Yardley placed signs showing support of the LGBTQ community.
The signs were spurred, in large part, because of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric being heard in the community recently, according to Rev. Hilary Greer, rector of the church along West Afton Street in the borough. Shortly after, those signs were vandalized.
Recently, a pride flag was forcibly removed from its mount, destroyed and covered in feces.
Now, the church is speaking out in hopes of stopping the vandalism and sharing a message of support for the LGBTQ community.
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Greer said the church began posting welcome signs for the LGBTQ community on its property a few months ago as a positive message of support.
The signs read "Everyone is Welcome Here."
Greer said a lot of anti-LGBTQ organizing is done by people who identify as Christians, and the shows of support from St. Andrew's church was to show the LGBTQ community that God accepts all. The showings of support is also meant to encourage other Christians to show the same support.
“For many of us, our religious freedom is proclaiming that God created and loves LGBTQ people," Greer said. “That, for us, is what Christianity calls us to do."
Initially, there was some damage to the signs. They would go missing, and would reappear days later. Members of the church thought it was just a prank.
“Then it keep increasing," Greer said. "Then we realized signs don’t disappear and return on their own."
No other signs for the church were vandalized. dda
“So this is very specifically anti-LGBTQ," she said.
The frames of the signs at one point were damaged, which Greer said must have been challenging, because the frames were fairly sturdy.
“Someone was really trying to do something to them," she said.
Eventually, someone tossed the signs into Lake Afton, which is near the church. Only one of the signs were recovered.
The signs, and later the flag, were all placed near the church's main sign on the property. Someone would have to park and go onto the property to access it.
A few weeks ago, in an effort to continue their message after the signs were damaged, church officials placed a pride flag where the signs once stood.
Sometime overnight Monday into Tuesday, the flag was damaged, and the mount that once held it was also destroyed.
Yardley Police Chief Joe Kelly said the vandalism happened sometime between 8 p.m. Monday and about 8 a.m. Tuesday.
No one has been charged in the incident yet.
While the signs and flag were damaged, members of the church are not deterred, and will continue to spread their message.
“There was a (new) flag up within in an hour," Greer said.
On Wednesday, Kelly said the department was still investigating the incident.
“We’ve increased patrols in that area," he said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Yardley police at 215-493-2782, Cpl. Adam Clark at 215-493-2782 ext. 409, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips may also be submitted anonymously through the department's website, https://www.yardleypd.org/anonymouscrimereporting.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: LGBTQ signs, pride flag vandalized outside Yardley church