Short Story of the Rainbow Banner

At the January 28, 2024, Annual Meeting the topic of the rainbow banner was requested to be added to the agenda. Discussion followed and two questions were posed for a vote:

  • If to remove the banner or
  •  If to change the wording on the banner.

The vote was to keep the banner but change the wording.

During the discussion before the vote there was some confusion as to the wording and what the message of the banner is. A little background may be helpful. In May 2021 at the Building and Grounds board meeting the issue of the appearance of the current rainbow banner was raised. A new banner was ordered and following delays, the new banner was installed in May 2023 on the front lawn where it is today.

The wording on the banner is different on each side. The side that just has stripes says A JUST WORLD FOR ALL on the yellow stripe with the UCC logo and words United Church of Christ on the bottom violet stripe, right side. The side that has a chevron on the left side and stripes says EVERY ONE IS WELCOME HERE down the right side, each word on a different stripe, with a violet heart below the word HERE.

The creator of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker, was asked by Harvey Milk to create a Pride flag. In 1978 Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. Gilbert Baker chose the rainbow saying, “The rainbow came from earliest recorded history as a symbol of hope.”

The colors have the following meanings:

  •  Red: Life
  • Orange: Healing
  • Yellow: Sunlight
  • Green: Nature
  • Indigo: Serenity
  • Violet: Spirit
  • Black and Brown: People of color within the LGBTQ+ community
  • Pink, Blue and White: Transgender and Nonbinary

The church’s intent with the banner is to be inviting and welcoming to all people through color, symbolism and words. The hope is that this is so.

Submitted by: Pat Juday