Police are investigating after a Delta church was once again the target of hateful vandalism.
Early Wednesday morning (May 31), someone threw black paint on the front entrance of Ladner United Church as well as the window of the minister’s office — both locations where Pride and Progress Pride flags are on display.
“Vandalism won’t change our stand — we support all people, because we are all children of a loving God,” the church wrote on Facebook.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime against both the church and the broader LGBTQ2S+ community, noting in a press release that Pride flags are symbolic representations of the community and their allies, and damaging them can be seen as an act of hatred or discrimination.
“Defacing or damaging these flags is illegal, disrespectful and deeply hurtful to the 2SLGBTQI+ community,” the release states.
The incident, which sparked outrage and condemnation across the community, came one day before the start of Pride month.
In response to the incident, the Delta Pride Society posted on its social media channels that it condemns any forms of hate and “will continue to stand firmly in our advocacy and support of the Pride community — their peace, life, safety and well-being. We are here for you. We stand with you.”
To show solidarity and allyship, a group of residents rallied on the Highway 17 overpass in Ladner Wednesday, waving flags and carrying signs with messages of support.
Mayor George Harvie, in a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, voiced his support for the gathering while condemning the act of hate that spurred it.
“I want to recognize all Deltans who support our 2SLGBTQ+ community. The vandal who defaced the Ladner United Church in no way represents us. The spirit of [Delta] is in these community members who are loudly supporting love over hate today and everyday,” he wrote.
“The [City of Delta] and I will always stand in support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and against these acts of hate. Deltans, no matter whom they love, should feel welcome, safe, and valued in our city.”
In Thursday’s press release, DPD Chief Neil Dubord said Pride flags “wave as symbols of acceptance, equality, and freedom, standing strong against any attempts to diminish our spirit or divide our community.”
On Thursday morning, church staff found a someone had placed signs on the lawn spelling “love wins.”
Ladner United Church has flown some version of the Pride flag outside the entrance since 2014, and Wednesday’s incident is at least the sixth time that the church has been attacked over its support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
In August of 2021, the original defaced flag — which had been re-hung outside the church after being adorned with a large heart to cover the paint damage and signed with messages of love and support from community members — was torn, and two weeks later a replacement flag was again vandalized with black paint.
In July of last year, a man believed to be in his 50s or 60s was caught on camera striking the Progress Pride flag hanging outside the church’s main entrance with a long sharp-edged pole, tearing it in several spots.
Since then, the church has displayed the flag from behind its window to discourage further acts of vandalism.
Police say that, over the past two and a half years, five incidents have been reported by the church, and though each was investigated thoroughly, no suspects were successfully identified.
“Rest assured, the Delta Police Department remains committed to conducting a comprehensive investigation into this most recent incident.”
Anyone with information about Wednesday’s vandalism, or any of the previous incidents of hate at Ladner United Church, is asked to contact the Delta Police Department at 604-946-4411 or, to remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8247).