A ceremony marking the installation of a lesbian pastor to lead a church group affirming diversity in St. Paul, Minn., ended Saturday with a golf ball carrying an antigay message through the windshield of a vehicle in the parking lot.
The golf ball carried an antigay message and obscene picture rendered by hand in red ink, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It had smashed through the window of a sports-utility vehicle owned by a man attending the ceremony, and was discovered during the reception after the event.
Nearly 150 attended the ceremony at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, where the Reverend Anita C. Hill has been installed as a regional director of Reconciling Works, according to the Pioneer Press. The group, which will soon lease space at the church location, works for LGBT inclusion in religion.
The Reverend Bonnie Wilcox, senior pastor of the church, told the Pioneer Press that although the church is across from a golf course, the latest errant ball appeared unlikely to be an accident, based on its angle and message. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Hill, who has been out since 1974, leads the St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sanctioned the congregation when it ordained her in 2001, according to KSTC-TV. The ELCA changed its policy and began to allow openly gay clergy in 2009.