North Bay Church Receives Hate Mail Over 'Black Lives Matter' Banner


Shortly after the murder of George Floyd, the town of Ross in Marin County held a rally with hundreds of supporters in June. Following the rally, St. John’s Episcopal Church posted a banner that read "Black Lives Matter."

Reverend Chris Rankin-Williams said the community and the congregation have been very supportive, but then recently he started receiving anonymous hate mail.

"Saying 'We don’t like your banner, take it down, churches shouldn’t make political statements'...we should take the banner down and that I should leave the community, it’s a disservice to the Ross community," he said.

One person even shouted at him through his office window to take the banner down, and that "all lives matter."

But instead, he took a photo of a recent letter and posted it on Facebook to show that these issues are real even in a quiet small town.

"The banner is actually uncovering issues of racism in the community that need to be addressed. I got an email from someone saying, 'You should take the banner down because racism isn’t an issue in Ross,'" the Reverend scoffed. "Why? Because there are like five Black people in Ross so it’s not an issue?"

Rankin-Williams says the banner is not meant to be an endorsement of any particular political organization or party. “But I’m trying to be clear like, you know, if you think Jesus’ ministry wasn’t political, you’re not reading the gospel.”

The Reverend hopes that whoever wrote the letter will come forward so they can have a dialogue about racism and white privilege.