St. Paul police investigating possible hate crime at St. Paul church

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A golf ball with a homophobic word and image smashed through the window of a vehicle parked outside a church where a lesbian pastor was being named by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The ceremony was for the Rev. Anita C. Hill at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in St. Paul. Rev. Hill has been a pioneer in the Lutheran clergy. She’s been out since 1974 and her church was sanctioned in by the ELCA in 2001 after it named her pastor. The ELCA changed its rules in 2009 to allow for LGBT clergy.

The homophobic slur and image were written on the ball in red ink and thrown through the window of an SUV belonging to a man attending the ceremony.

On her Facebook page, Rev. Hill wrote:

The installation was a celebratory event with worship at the center and a sweet reception afterward. I am saddened by the property damage and problems that occurred in the parking lot. I want the person(s) who did this to know that God loves them and I love them, and there is nothing they can do about that.

Hill new role in the ELCA will be “to help congregations be fully welcoming in the pulpit and the pew”–to all people, no matter their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, according to KSTC.

Emily Eastwood, executive director of ReconcilingWorks, told WCCO:

“The St. Paul P.D. came, and they made a police report and documented the evidence. They said we could have the ball if we wanted it, they didn’t need it. So it’s going to live on my desk as a sign of the work we still have to do.”