Local church raises Black Lives Matter banner

Ginny Wilder, pastor of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, stands under the newly hung Black Lives Matter banner.

Local church raises Black Lives Matter banner
July 08
14:11 2020

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been around for several years. BLM has gained more and more momentum amid recent tragedies and one of the reasons for that is the participation from people outside the Black community who are upset with the status quo as well.  

To show solidarity with the movement, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, which has a predominately white congregation, raised their second BLM banner at the church last Thursday, July 2. The first banner was torn down last year, so the church was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to display their new one. 

Ginny Wilder, pastor of St. Anne’s, said the idea for hanging the initial banner came from challenge from a local church whose BLM banner had been stolen.

“Sometime in the spring of 2018, the Unitarian Universalists Church experienced vandalism when their banner was taken and they held a press conference where they challenged their sibling churches in the area to also hang a banner,” said Wilder about how the idea came to hang their first banner. “One of our members purchased a banner and we blessed it and we hung it in May of 2018, and it stayed until April or May of 2019.

“We don’t know what happened to it. One of my parishioners drove by and said, ‘Do you know that the banner is gone?’ and I said ‘No.’ So, I came over and sure enough, it wasn’t in the bushes or blown away and without skipping a beat, I just ordered another one and blessed it in our online worship service. We were waiting for a security camera to be hung, so that if something happened to this one, we would be able to see it on the camera.”

Wilder said when the challenge was issued, she knew St. Anne’s had to participate because of their integrated history.

“The history of St. Anne’s lends itself to being an integrated parish intentionally, even before that was mandated here,” she said. “Anything that we can do to profess God’s love and welcome our neighbors near and far we want to do that. When our sibling church, Unitarian Universalists, said ‘Join in this with us,’ we answered ‘Amen, we will,’ and it has been a subject of welcome for many people and also for people who aren’t of brown or black skin who also feel this is an important movement, have found their welcome and their voice welcome here.”

Wilder says she doesn’t know if the sign was taken down out of malice, but prefers to think the sign may have been taken down to be used in one of the recent protests around the city.  

“Our hope is that someone saw it and decided it needed to be off the building and on the streets,” she said optimistically. “If that wasn’t the case, whoever removed it from our building just remember that you are a beloved child of God and there is not ill will there and we will continue to speak this message and this truth, with or without a banner, in our hearts and prayers.”

Wilder says she feels it’s important for places of worship to stand for what is right.

“In my belief and understanding of our savior Jesus Christ, he was not a white person with blue eyes and blonde hair,” she said. “He was a brown-skinned person and I matter to him and therefore he matters to me and we matter to each other.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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