Hate has raised its ugly head once again along the outside walks of Ladner United Church.
The church in Ladner Village was targeted by vandals sometime in the early hours on Wednesday who poured black paint across the front entrance, doors and front outside walls of the church.
The vandalism comes one day before the start of Pride Month a fact that is not lost on Pastor Nancy Painter who spoke with the Optimist late Wednesday morning as volunteers finished cleaning up the damage outside.
“When Doug our caretaker arrived just after 6 a.m. he found the front steps, doors and outside wall of the minister’s office and window had all been defaced with black paint. There was pools of the paint on the steps and those are the two places where we have Pride flags,” she said. “The flags were moved into the building because of previous vandalism. This is becoming almost an annual event where we have had flags vandalized. The flags have been cut, egged, painted…someone out there has a real grudge against the LGTBQIA2S+ community.”
Painter said after seeing the initial photos Wednesday morning before driving to the church she was alternating between fury and tears.
“I have let go of the fury and have moved forward, but that kind of hatred is hard to understand,” she said. “Often it comes from fears of things that people don’t understand. We are saddened greatly that this has happened. The church is the people not the building, but this building means a lot to people in Ladner. It has been here a long time and provided sanctuary and a place of worship for people for a long time. This will not make us take down our flags. We are a Christian church and we believe that Christ preached acceptance of all because all are God’s children.”
Delta Police have been contacted and are in the initial stages of their investigation.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Delta Pride Society released a statement on its Facebook page: "Delta Pride Society condemns any forms of hate. We will continue to stand firmly in our advocacy and support of the Pride community - their peace, life, safety and well-being.
We are here for you. We stand with you.”
Delta Mayor George Harvie during the Pride Flag raising ceremony at city hall in Ladner on Thursday, June 1 said, “It’s totally unacceptable the pride community continues to face these acts, and let’s call them disgusting acts. I want to ensure the pride community and the pride members in Delta that we don’t celebrate in Delta just one day or just one month, we celebrate all year every day just to ensure everyone is welcome in our community.”
On Thursday morning, someone put up a "Love Wins" banner on the front lawn of the church.
The message was welcomed by church staff who posted a thank-you message to their Facebook page: “We enjoyed coming to work this morning to see we were love bombed while away! A stark contrast to yesterday morning... THANK YOU for this, whoever you are! Please reach out so we can thank you personally. It brought joy, smiles and gratitude for this wonderful community we live in. So many of you have stopped by to donate funds to the clean-up and share kind words of support. We love you! Thank you!”
On Thursday afternoon, students from Delta Secondary were also planning on stopping by the church to write messages of love and support in chark art outside the church.