A Black Lives Matter sign hung outside a church in Montgomery County, Maryland, has been vandalized for the fourth time in a little over a year -- and church leaders say they are willing to engage with the vandals.
The sign outside Christ Congressional Church in Silver Spring was defaced on election night. Someone cut the word "black" out of the sign, so it read simply "Lives Matter."
In a ceremony Friday, a diverse group of religious leaders, elected officials and concerned residents rededicated the sign, with the word "black" replaced.
"We felt it necessary to come and let the citizens of Montgomery County and the residents of Silver Spring know that we will not tolerate the hate in our community," Rev. Jeffrey Thames said.
Vandals and anyone who wants to discuss the "Black Lives Matter" movement is welcome at the church.
"We love you so much that we are inviting you to come in and have a meeting with us so that we can understand what it is that you're feeling, we can understand what you're afraid of, we can understand why you feel that your life may not matter because at this moment we're focused on black lives," Thames said.
Congressman-elect Jamie Raskin, who will represent the 8th District, attended the ceremony.
"It seems like the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' is threatening to a lot of people, and obviously all lives matter," he said.
James Stowe, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, spoke at the ceremony about inclusion.
"Whoever cut out the word 'black' is still part of this community," he said. "How do we impact in ways so that for those folks, they also feel part of the community? I'll tell you, at the end of the day we've got to be one Montgomery County. One."