ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Members of Messiah Lutheran Church in Rotterdam arrived to a disheartening sight at their place of worship last week. The progressive pride flag in front of their Guilderland Avenue worship house had allegedly been stolen, igniting a whirlwind of emotions in the congregation.
Messiah is the only Christian congregation in Rotterdam certified as welcoming, opening, and affirming for members of the LGBTQ+ community, something its members see as a core aspect of their mission. A progressive pride flag was raised in front of their Worship Center over a year ago as a public affirmation of that commitment. After the flag was allegedly stolen, especially amidst a rising tide of hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ+ community, many members felt afraid and angry.
In response, instead of calling the police or just letting the matter rest, Messiah’s leadership realized the congregation needed to double down on its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. That’s why this Wednesday at 4 p.m., along with members of Schenectady Clergy Against Hate and the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission, Messiah is organizing a “Pride Flag Raising and Speak Out” in front of its Trinity Community Center at 705 Curry Road.
The flag in front of the Messiah Worship Center will be replaced as well. All are invited to attend.
Rev. Dustin G. Longmire (he/ they), Pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church said, “In response to an act of hate in our local community, we need to come together and remind the public that a pride flag is not a partisan political symbol but rather a sign of our community’s commitment to welcome and celebrate EVERY SINGLE PERSON around a common table where we all can be nourished in body, mind, and soul.”