Cary, N.C. — Pride and Black Lives Matter flags decorating a church sign were burned early Wednesday in Cary.
Church leaders said it’s not the first time their flags have been vandalized. But this time, church leaders said they have become more alarmed for the congregation’s safety.
Greenwood Forest Baptist Church Senior Pastor Lauren Efird said the flags were found charred, tattered and torn.
“It does very much concern me, the level of hatred someone would have,” said Efird.
She and other leaders started putting out the flags two years ago after the death of George Floyd.
“It was surprising a Baptist church would put out BLM and Pride flags, and we had many people who came here pleasantly surprised to find respite and home in our sanctuary,” said Efird.
The church, which was founded in 1963, has about 300 members. Leaders said the flags they’ve been displaying even boost attendance.
“We were going to welcome and affirm, which includes all of God’s beloved children,” said Efird. “There were people who came to church this Sunday because of the flags.”
But the flags have also brought out disgruntled behavior in some.
“Over the past couple weeks, [the flags] have been disappearing,” said Efird.
Each and every time, Efird said her team had add to their stockpile and put them right back out.
“We will not deterred,” said Efird.
Church leaders said they remain grounded in their beliefs and will not let hate prevail.
“We stand here at the corner of Kildaire Farm and Maynard roads as a welcoming community hospitality,” said Efird.
Cary police said they are investigating and taking the offense very seriously. The church is also taking donations from the congregation for more flags should the vandalism continue.
“We have people come to this church because they know they are loved and included, and they see flags come down. That is heartbreaking to me. That feels like hate,” said Efird.