The United Methodist Church in East Greenwich decided five years ago to allow same-sex weddings. But it wasn’t until an international council of Methodist leaders voted earlier this year to strengthen bans on same-sex marriage and gay clergy that the church decided to hang a rainbow flag outside the building, as a symbol that the church welcomes LGBTQ members.

“We needed to more outwardly tell our community that we’re accepting of all people, and that when you hear the news about the United Methodist Church it’s definitely not a reflection of who we are,” said church member Allyson Wojtaszek.

She was happy to see the flag outside the church this past Sunday. But church staff found the flag was cut down Monday morning. Pastor Bill Trench said that’s galvanized the church.

“It’s interesting that before it was put up, you know, it was easy to say, ‘Why do we need to do this; this doesn’t make any difference, everybody knows where we stand.’ And now we know it’s more important than we thought,” Trench said.

And Trench added, the church is already planning its next step:  “We’re gonna get another flag. And we’ll get as many flags as we need.”

If the flag is taken down again, Trench said, they’ll put another one up.