Defiant pro-LGBT church restores Pride flags torn down by vandals

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A pro-LGBT London church has replaced a rainbow flag and a transgender flag that were torn down by vandals in a defiant flag-raising ceremony.

Popular gay London vicar Andrew Foreshew-Cain pastors St James’ Church in West Hampstead.

The clergyman is a strong proponent of an LGBT-inclusive approach within the Church of England, flying the rainbow flag from his church and engaging with the local LGBT community. He added the trans flag earlier this year.

However, both flags were cut down overnight earlier this month, with the vicar waking to discover the vandalised flagpole.

Fr. Foreshew-Cain had vowed “not give in to your bullying and threats” and to replace the flags as soon as possible, and he re-raised the flags in a ceremony today.

He was accompanied by Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kiburn, and representatives from the fire brigade.

Ms Siddiq said: “The LGBT and trans flags are flying again above St James – this time they’re staying up!”

Fr Foreshew-Cain said: “I decided that they weren’t going to stop us – no, we’re not going to give in to that.

“We have the flags up proudly because it’s a statement of who we are.

“The flags show that this is a place of safety and everybody is welcome.”

CCTV of the vandals has been forwarded to the police.

The vicar caused controversy in 2014 when he defied Church of England rules by marrying his same-sex partner, in defiance of a ban on gay clergy weddings.

However he did not face punishment, and last year Foreshew-Cain was elected to sit on the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod.

Following the Orlando massacre earlier tihs year, he put a moving memorial at the heart of the church.