KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City church vandalized last month invites the community to be a part of its recovery.

Kansas City United Church of Christ plans to hold a party Saturday morning to repaint a rainbow flag on its marquee.

The flag had been on the marquee for decades, showing the church’s love and acceptance for all LGBTQIA+ people.

The church said someone vandalized the flag by painting over it one night in May.

“We’ve been out and proud in celebrating the lives and love of all people – including our LGBTQIA+ friends and family – since 1997.  A little paint is not going to change the way we embrace God’s love in the world,” Jessica Palys, Pastor, said.  

Palys said the church considers the vandalism bullying and is part of an increase in the nationwide persecution of people who simply want to be accepted for being themselves.

“Safe spaces are incredibly important to LGBTQIA+ youth and adults, and yet these spaces are under attack – not only from misguided individual acts but even from state-sponsored discrimination that has picked up at a frightening pace, endangering the lives and well-being of LGBTQIA+ people, especially young people,” Palys said.

In addition to the rainbow decal on the marquee, the church plans to also add an updated Pride Flag with symbols embracing diversity, inclusion, and Intersex people to its lawn Saturday. The new display will face the Trolley Trail.

“We are proud of our welcome and our church family’s witness to God’s all-encompassing love in the world,” Palys said.  “And now, more than ever, it’s important for our KC community to know that our congregation, as well as many other congregations in Kansas City, are safe spaces for people to live fully into the person God created in them.  You are not excluded from the love of God or from belonging to an accepting faith community.  You are welcome and you belong here.”

Saturday’s event is open to all. It begins at 10 a.m. at the church located at 205 W. 65th St. in Kansas City, Missouri.

The church said it will also be at the KC Pride Fest Sunday as part of the Heartland Open and Affirming Coalition.

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