Hillsborough United Church of Christ in Hillsborough, NC, has experienced a wave of thefts with one incident ending in rainbow flags being burn on the church’s grounds.
“I don’t know how you can’t take it personally,” said Brent Denisar-Green, 36, in an interview with the local News Observer. Denisar-Green,, a member of the UCC congregation recently married his long-time partner in the church. “What crossed my mind was how hateful… I just couldn’t believe somebody would do that, especially to a church.”
The rainbow flags were a recent addition to the church, where Rev. Jay Kennett said he put them up to show support for the local LGBTQ community after the passage of HB 2 and “to let the community know and LGBT folks in the community know there was a church that supported them and welcomed them.”
Kennett said members of his church thought it was important “not to hide from who we are and how we share God’s love.”
In a sign of good faith, James Denisar-Green said he’d hope the folks who stole and burned the flags might take the time to learn more about their faith its message.
“I would challenge them to come and actually visit our church,” he said. “We’re open to all, even those who burn flags.”
But sure enough, within days of the flag-burning story hitting the web, Hillsborough UCC’s second set of rainbow flags was stolen.
Hillsborough United Church of Christ replaced the flags Thursday morning and reported the theft to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, a church official said.
Sheriff’s investigators said this week they are still investigating the flag-burning.
Hillsborough UCC Pastor Jay Kennett said church members found the flags’ charred tatters Saturday morning. They put the flags up a few weeks ago to let the community know the church supported and welcomed LGBT folks, he said.