Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Church responds with love to arson

In recent weeks, vandals have burned and torn the Rainbow Flag at South Sydney Uniting Church (SSUC) on Raglan Street. The church’s notice board has also been defaced. There have been arson attacks on the church in the past.

The congregation, which publishes the South Sydney Herald, comprises people of diverse sex and gender identities and SSUC is an affirming congregation with a history of support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Parish minister, the Rev. Andrew Collis, said: “Amid sadness and anger at the vandalising of our Rainbow Flag, we offer prayers of love and support for Rainbow people, families, friends – brave and vulnerable, resilient and beautiful members of the parish. We love you and we stand together. We offer prayers of love for the community – may knowledge and understanding prevail … compassion with commitment to safety and the flourishing of life in all its goodness.

“We have received messages of support from several neighbours, as well as local congregations including Pitt Street Uniting Church and the Tree of Hope (CatholicCare). We are grateful for the faithfulness and care of many Christian and other local religious communities, including Rainbow Catholics Interagency Australia, Acceptance (St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Newtown), Crave (Metropolitan Community Church), Rainbodhi (Buddhist), Dayenu (Jewish), and Sydney Queer Muslims.”

Pastor Nadine Rozario from the Sydney Presbytery of the Uniting Church sent the following message: “We pray for healing and hope, for unity and safety. And we pray that you will continue to courageously love, welcome and embrace ALL people, as you always have.”

In response to the attacks, and at the suggestion of one supportive neighbour, the church’s notice board has featured the words “UNITED” and “TOGETHER” in rainbow-coloured chalk.

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