SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Churches often wear their hearts on their sleeves. A cross, selected Bible verses, and signs can say a lot about them. That’s true for a downtown Sioux Falls church. You may have noticed a big multi-colored banner hanging high at First Congregational Church. There is a story behind it, and church members hope it’ll help continue to move them forward.
The giant rainbow flag is hard to miss.
“I knew it was going to be 10 feet by 15 feet,” Mary Kay Fausch, member, said.
Putting it up outside of First Congregational Church makes a big statement.
“I was part of the committee that made that decision,” Fausch said.
In case you’re wondering, the pride flag and the colors represent inclusivity for LGBTQ+ community. The light blue, pink, and white stripes specifically speak to people who are transgender. The black and brown stripes represent people of color within these communities.
What’s the point of having this? Reverend Ryan Otto says the church wants everyone to know they’re welcome.
“Our church has sought to speak very openly, you are loved. We’re not here to change you, but you as a child of God are loved as you are,” Otto said.
First Congregational adopted an open and affirming philosophy almost a decade ago. Fausch, a longtime member, says church leadership put the banner up a few days ago. They were inspired by seeing the Black Lives Matter movement.
“My hope for the church is we not only place a banner up for the LGBTQ+ community, but one goes up for Black Lives Matter, one goes up for our immigrant population, one goes up for our Native American population and any other community that is oppressed and marginalized,” Fausch said.
The rainbow pride flag makes a big statement to everyone outside of First Congregational.
More importantly, members hope it says even more about what goes on inside.
“Again and again in scripture, we find this message of do not be afraid. Love one another. Love God, love thy neighbor and that is a message that is to include everyone,” Otto said.
“There’s no one to be excluded. We are all together in this world and we ought to act like that,” Fausch said.
First Congregational Church is holding a public dedication of the banner on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m.