LGBTQ display targeted by thief, reverend says

Reverend: LGBTQ display stolen from outside Pleasant Ridge church

PLEASANT RIDGE, Ohio (FOX19) - The reverend of a Pleasant Ridge church says someone stole part of a church display designed to support the LGBTQ community.

Reverend Derek Terry describes his church, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, as open and inclusive.

“Our church is a safe place for anyone who feels that society has forgotten about them," Terry said.

To show support for the LGTBQ community, Terry says they created a display honoring trans people who have lost their lives.

“[Display] of all of the trans individuals who have been killed up into that point in 2019," he explained.

But on Saturday, he noticed two pride flags that were part of the display were missing. After checking security camera footage, the reverend realized it appeared to be the result of an intentional act.

“We did see where someone stole the property," Terry confirmed.

In a Facebook post about the theft, Terry wrote: “God saw you, and so did our cameras.”

He adds the church has had problems with vandalism in the past.

“Anytime you make a stand for anything, there’s always someone who has a different perspective or different idea," Terry explained. “And so, like I said, this has happened to us before, so I get it, but of course I was angered. I was upset."

Terry’s response to what happened? “When they go low,” he offered, "we go high.”

He adds church leaders plan to add permanent pride flags that will stand in the grass or be attached to the front of the building.

“Have all the flags out there just representing who we are and the diversity of our church," Terry said.

The reverend explains he does not know why the person did it, but to him, that does not matter.

“It’s still stealing. It’s still wrong," he says. “If it is from hatred and bigotry, I hope they find peace from it as well.”

Although the security camera footage has not been released, Terry says they did give it to Cincinnati police.

However, he says he is not concerned about criminal charges and is instead focused on spreading love. He says the hate they do get pales in comparison to the positivity.

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