'Black Lives Matter' banner reported taken from Finksburg church

The "Black Lives Matter" sign displayed at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists in Finksburg was taken this week, church officials say.
The "Black Lives Matter" sign displayed at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists in Finksburg was taken this week, church officials say.(Courtesy Photo / Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists)

After a “Black Lives Matter” banner was apparently stolen from Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists in Finksburg, church leaders say they hope the incident was merely a crime of opportunity.

“I’m hoping that it is just teenagers, and that it isn’t some kind of organized thing,” said Peter White, who handles communications for the church.


A deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office took a statement from the Rev. Amy Williams Clark on Wednesday following the discovery of the theft. According to Cpl. Thomas Vanik, no suspects had been identified as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The banner has been in place at the Finksburg church since April 30, when the congregation held a dedication and witness ceremony.

White said this was the first problem the church had experienced with the banner, and that the religious group had not received previous complaints from the community or experienced vandalism or theft.

The Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists board will be discussing additional security procedures and security equipment to prevent future incidents, he said.

A Lutherville church's "Black Lives Matter" sign has been repeatedly stolen or vandalized over the past year.

Williams Clark noticed the banner was missing at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday when she came into the office. She contacted other members of the church to make sure maintenance was not being done to the property or that another member of the church had removed the banner for a legitimate reason, White said.

The banner may have been taken any time between Sunday and Wednesday afternoon, he said.

The weatherproof banner had been tethered to two posts above the sign for the church at the end of the parking lot near the road.

White said the group obtained the banner from the Black Lives Matter organization.


“Unitarian Universalists are very much committed to social justice. It’s our big thing,” he said. “Getting involved with Black Lives Matter — it’s sort of been bred in us to take that position.”

According to their website, the faith group, “is a progressive congregation grounded in the liberal religious tradition. As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm human worth and dignity, encourage the free search for truth, and commit ourselves to help create a society in which there is respect and justice.”

Several churches in the state have experienced theft and vandalism of “Black Lives Matter” banners, including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis and several other Annapolis churches that experienced incidents in December 2015. In at least one case, an individual was charged with destruction of property.