Kitchener-Waterloo

Two queer-friendly churches in Waterloo hit with graffiti

Parkminster and Emmanuel United Church have been vandalised with the same mark that spell out "Romans 1:32" near their pride flags. This marks the second incident in two months for the Parkminster location.

Parkminster and Emmanuel United Church have been vandalised with the same mark

Parkminster United Church in Waterloo was hit with graffiti again as a custodian with the church found "Romans 1:32" spray-painted at the front entrance of the church and in the parking lot. (Submitted by: Parkminster United Church)

LGBTQ-friendly Parkminster United Church in Waterloo was hit with graffiti for the second time on Thursday. The words "Romans 1:32" were found spray-painted at the front entrance and in the parking lot below the church's pride flag.

By Thursday afternoon, members at the Emmanuel United Church noticed the same graffiti on their window, also above their pride flag. 

"It's quite a dramatic message," said Jenn Hind, a minister at the Emmanuel location. "In black, it's spray painted 'the church will remain holy.'" 

Hind said the church members at Emmanuel are experiencing an "overwhelming sense of frustration" but they offered their "support and solidarity" to those at Parkminister United.  

"This brings us closer together," said Hind. 

This wasn't the first time Parkminster United Church was hit with graffiti. 

On Oct. 18, members found graffiti spray-painted at the front entrance saying "The church shall remain holy," a reference to Romans 1:28. Members then turned that graffiti into a mural to celebrate the inclusive stance of the church.

"We are deeply saddened to report more graffiti left at the church this morning both at the front entrance and in our parking lot near the flag," said a post on the church's Facebook page. (Submitted by: Parkminster United Church)

Heather Power, one of two ministers at Parkminster United Church, told CBC News the verse used in the graffiti "suggests perhaps that those who aren't doing what God decrees, don't deserve to live." 

She said while they are not 100 per cent sure of the motive behind the graffiti, they think it has to do with the sign of a World Aids Day vigil the church is hosting on Friday. And it likely is an attack on the "affirming and inclusive" stance that Parkminster takes towards LGBTQ issues.

"Unfortunately when you take individual passages of the Bible you can use them anyway you want," she said.

Power said police were on the property Thursday morning to investigate. Hind also said police are aware of the situation at Emmanuel United. 

Emmanuel United Church found this graffiti on their window on Thursday. The words "Romans 1:32" and "the church shall remain holy" were spray-painted near the pride flag. (Submitted by Neal Moogk-Soulis)

She said they will raise another pride flag up at their open-house on Saturday. 

"Although the intent is fear and hate, the outcome is that it inspires love and people band together who have been hurt by such things," said Hind. 

Waterloo Regional Police told CBC news they received the report this morning and will continue to investigate the incident.