This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, RestonNow.com, and republished with permission.
A rainbow flag outside the Unitarian Universalist Church is missing for the third time in three months.
Rev. Debra Haffner said that the 11-foot flag was stolen on Tuesday, June 11.
The church has been very vocal in advocacy for LGBTQ rights. It organized the first-ever Reston Pride Festival last year.
This year, the festival was held at a new and larger location at Lake Anne Plaza.
“We are deeply saddened that some person or persons have chosen to steal our flag and hope that it will be returned to us. More, we hope for an opportunity to create an opportunity for restorative justice with that person or persons, so that they will come to understand and accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Haffner.
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The missing flag was reported to the Fairfax County Police Department, which is investigating who tore down the flag.
Haffner said she fears the incident qualifies as a hate crime. She said her church is open to purchasing a flag for any faith community that requests it.
“We will continue to fly a rainbow flag on our property, even if it means buying a new one every month. We hope that other churches, synagogues and mosques will put a rainbow flag on their property, so that all will know that people of every faith in Reston support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.”
Until this spring, a rainbow flag has flown on UUCR’s property since 2017 without incident.