Sussex County rainbow flag burning brings positive community action

Rainbow flag burning
Rainbow flag burning in Sussex County New Jersey in 2022.

In early 2022, the congregation of the Sparta United Methodist Church at 71 Sparta Avenue experienced the desecration of the rainbow flag displayed in front of the church. The flag is a symbol of welcome to the LGBTQ community. The church extends a welcome to all who wish to worship and join in the many outreach ministries.

After the incident, the rainbow flag was replaced immediately, but a burning of the replacement flag occurred shortly thereafter. In response to these symbolic acts of hate, the larger community offered an outpouring of support through well wishes, donations, and gifts of replacement rainbow flags.

As time went by, a truth began to emerge to many in the local LGBTQ community. Simply raising a new flag is not enough to overcome the existence of hatred and bigotry. Replacing the destroyed flag is important, but creating room for growth, respect, and understanding is crucial for healing. So say the residents that have formed a new PFLAG in Sussex County.

PFLAG Sussex County will hold their first ever meeting in February. The organization looks to help support LGBTQ people and their families. They will provide community education, and advocate for LGBTQ issues as PFLAG does at chapters all across the country. The recent anti-LGBTQ events and incidents in Sussex County have not sent the community back in the closet but instead has prompted some residents to form the new local chapter.

Consequently, a home for a new chapter of PFLAG has been established at the Sparta United Methodist Church. PFLAG Sussex County will hold their first meeting on Monday, February 6,  at 7 p.m. at the Church located at 71 Sparta Avenue. They ask for residents who recognize the importance of this mission and would find this support valuable to please attend. Participants under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a parent.