March of Jesus organizers disappointed flag not raised at city hall
Organizers of the March for Jesus were told they can’t fly their Christian flag at Windsor City Hall this year.
It meant a lot to the organizers, who were given the ok to fly their flag last year.
"We enjoyed putting it up,” says Pastor Shirley Walsh. “I think last year was the first time in a century that the Christian flag has been flown."
About 22 Christian based churches come together for the event, which typically draws up to 500 people. Originally, the group was told they could fly their flag again this year.
“Then they sent us a letter saying we couldn't put it up because they call it a religious movement," says Walsh.
City of Windsor officials say a community organization or event seeks permission to fly its flag at city hall about once a month. For example, the Windsor Pride flag was recently flown for pride week activities.
Under the city's flag raising policy, any flag that supports discrimination, a political or religious movement, cannot be flown.
“We received additional information regarding the origins for the March for Jesus which I understand started in 1987 in the United Kingdom, and it has grown and become much more of a movement," says city clerk Valerie Critchley.
Walsh says that's not what the march is about.
"We don't mention religion, churches, pastors, we just talk about Jesus and we have a good time," says Walsh.
Councillor Ron Jones has walked in the event for the last five years and says he was disappointed to learn the flag wouldn't fly.
“I'm in a unique position in as much as I’m one of the policy makers here and I understand that laws have to be made for particular reasons, but I'm also a person a faith and I realize that I can express my faith without a flag," says Jones.
Critchely says several private citizens sent emails opposing the flag be raised.
“I think this is the first time this year that we've had to do that," says Critchley.
Organizers remain positive and they are telling disappointed members that their flag will fly one way or another.
“We told them just raise the flag in your heart. So the flag did go up," says Walsh.