DENVER — Suspected vandals targeted a Denver church this weekend that prides itself on welcoming everyone and its inclusive atmosphere.
Highlands United Methodist Church has been a cornerstone of Denver’s Highlands neighborhood for nearly a century. The church regularly hosts around 200 congregation members at its services on Sunday mornings.
“Our entire focus and reason for being is building a home where all belong. That’s who we are at our best and that’s what we strive for every single day,” Bradley Laurvick, the pastor of the church, told FOX31.
As a means of spreading its message, the church recently began posting welcoming messages taken from the Bible on its sign out front.
On Monday, they changed it to say, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 23:35.”
Sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning, a suspected vandal smashed the glass on the sign, which also contained a rainbow heart.
“I’m kind of shocked. It’s disturbing. It’s such a lovely church here. We walk by regularly and so it’s always lovely to see what they have out so it’s really kind of sad and disappointing that somebody would do something like this,” Kady Katona, a neighbor, said.
Pastor Brad said he feels like the church and its sign may have be the targets of a hate-crime.
“We also have to acknowledge that racism and white supremacy exist and for people who are white we have to do some self-work and we have to work on ourselves,” he said. “There’s something about being reminded that hate and ignorance are around.”
So, instead of getting angry with whoever destroyed the sign, he made another sign in response.
“Yes we did! We grabbed the poster board this morning and we thought it important to remind folks nothing will break or commitment to stand with the oppressed,” Pastor Brad said.