Christmas display causes controversy in Adams County community

MOUNT JOY TWP., ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. - Is it a sign or Christmas decoration? An Adams County family is fighting back after the homeowners association where they live demanded the removal of a disputed item, a piece of wood that says Jesus on it, from their yard.

Mark and Lynn Wivell say they wanted to make a statement with their Christmas decorations this year.

"As part of our Christmas decoration, we would display the name Jesus to point out to everyone that we in this family believe that the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus," said Mark Wivell, who put the display up on Saturday,

But where the Wivells live, their homeowners association has a big say in what can go up or come down.

The HOA told them Sunday a neighbor found their Jesus sign offensive, and a day later said signage like this was not allowed.

But the Wivells contend that it's not a sign, rather a Christmas decoration.

"We have ordinances with regard to Christmas decorations, and my Christmas decorations comply with the HOA ordinances on Christmas decorations," Wivell said.

The Courtyards HOA board issued a statement to FOX43, in part saying quote: “It is, indeed, unfortunate that our attention has been unnecessarily redirected in this manner with a suggestion that Scrooge is alive and well in our community.  Many of our families will be in church on Monday with their spirit diminished by this attack.”

The family says many other people have supported their display.

"When this happened, we were really shocked," said Lynn Wivell. "We have gotten tremendous support from our neighbors here at the Links and that just makes us feel so good."

The Wivells plan on keeping the display up until January 15th, when the rules say all displays must come down. They still do not know who was reportedly offended by the display.

"People get offended by different things, but just because something offends you, doesn't mean the whole world has to change to accommodate you, so I would say please be more tolerant," Mark Wivell said.