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Congregations join after latest defacings of First Parish banner

100 come together for support

the Rev. Marta Flanagan, left, watches as new banner is installed at First Parish on Oct. 27.The "ALL," on the ground, had covered up "BLACK" on the First Parish banner on Thanksgiving Day. The new sign has been hit a third time. More photos here >>

UPDATED: Nov. 30: The "black lives matter" banner outside Arlington's First Parish was defaced again, this time on Thanksgiving.

Lori Kenschaft, the clerk at First Parish, said that on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 26, someone used black electrical tape and a piece of poster board to cover up the word "Black" on the banner with a much larger "All."

Then, at some point, Friday night or Saturday morning, the banner was again defaced, as someone had drawn a rude crossmark through "BLACK" and had written "All" abone it. A First Parish member spotted it and removed the "All," with no harm done to the banner.

The Thanksgiving Day act was reminiscent of the vandalism this month in which black tape was placed over the pictures of black professors at Harvard Law School

Kenschaft said she understands that three Arlington congregations have decided to put up "black lives matter" banners of their own: Calvary United Methodist Church, Church of Our Saviour (Episcopalian) and the Park Avenue Congregational Church.

More than 100 people from four Arlington congregations, plus other members of the broader community, came together for a shared "blessing of the banners" outside First Parish Arlington at noon Sunday, Nov. 29, before others left to mount or unveil their own banners at the three other churches. New England Cable News also reports.

The event took place shortly after First Parish's service, and those participating from Calvary United Methodist planned to walk back to their church.

Clergy are organizing this shared blessing.

Arlington police have been notified about the Thansgiving vandalism.

On Oct. 27, the First Parish banner was restored at rush hour after vandals, between Oct. 17 or 18, whited out the word "black" with spray paint and bent its metal frame.

Trinity Baptist Church, at 115 Mass. Ave., East Arlington, has erected some signs of its own, Moderator Lisa Deeley Smith reported.

Listed as supporters in a handout provided by First Parish in October are clergy and members from the Bethany House of Prayer, Calvary United Methodist Church, Church of Our Savior (Episcopalian) and Park Avenue Congregational Church.

Oct. 28, 2015:'Black lives matter' banner restored as other churches express support

Globe, Nov. 2: Jamaica Plain church replaces stolen banner

This report was published Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, and updated Nov. 30, to add link tp photos.

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