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Pride Flag Outside Schuylkill County Church Vandalized

PINE GROVE, Pa — If you’re driving past St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Pine Grove, you can see a pride flag hanging outside the church...

PINE GROVE, Pa -- If you're driving past St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Pine Grove, you can see a pride flag hanging outside the church.

Two years ago, the church changed its policies on same-sex marriage and has been welcoming to everyone in the community.

"We took to social media, on Facebook, and said, 'Hey, we want people to know that if you are in the area and you are an ally or a member of the LGBTQ community, that this church will not just welcome you, but fully include you. Everything from baptisms, to funerals, to weddings,'" explained Pastor Jason Stump.

This summer, Stump and his congregation began flying a pride flag out front on the church's free public library.

"It was up for a few weeks with no issues whatsoever, no negative feedback from the community, and then it was stolen," said Stump.

The church replaced it with another.

Then someone vandalized that flag Friday, trying to burn it and then slashing it.

It was an upsetting sight for those who worship there. Molly Daub and her son Jase said that they were sad to see what someone had done this to the flag.

"He came along to the church the other night and saw it first hand and asked a lot of questions about it, and we had to talk a little bit, and that's tough. That's a tough conversation to have with your 6 year old," said Daub.

St. Peter's put up a third pride flag this weekend, and they say it's not about the money it costs to replace the flag but what the flag represents and the lengths that someone is going to damage it.

"This is our message, and it may not be your message, and that's OK, but you know it's not a nice thing to steal and destroy property," said Stump.

Vandals may try to steal and burn the flag, but they cannot stop the welcoming spirit of the congregation.

"Looking at scripture, Jesus gave us a new commandment to love one another, so I think having the flag out there just shows the community here that everyone is welcome," said David Fehr, a member of the congregation.

Stump is not looking to press charges or even get an apology from the person or people responsible. If someone comes forward, the pastor simply just wants to talk with them and find out why that person wanted to destroy the flag.

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