Sep 10, 2015 6:50 PM

Keene community rallies behind vandalized rainbow benches

KEENE- A Keene church is using one persons mission to paint over their rainbow benches as a catalyst for spreading the word about accepting all people, including those who identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual.

Leaders at The United Church of Christ (UCC) thought two benches near a park on Court St. that had been tagged with graffiti needed a facelift so they allowed kids in an art camp to paint them rainbow. The UCC is accepting of all types of love, said Youth Minister Chris Cornell.

The two benches have been painted red several times over the last few weeks.

Volunteers have offered to help the church repaint the benches after each incident.

At one point a woman was spotted painting the bench, but Keene police do not have any leads.

It's unclear what the woman's motive is, but Cornell says it inspired the church to post signs on the benches, encouraging people to take selfies using the hashtag 'onthebench' and 'loveslove'.

The benches have become the talk of the city and the UCC Facebook posts have gained traction from about 20,000 users, Cornell said.

The church wants the person who's painting the benches to come forward to have a discussion about their concerns.

'I'd like to see her take a selfie on the bench someday,' Cornell said, 'perhaps with a loved one of her own.'


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