Unitarian Universalist Society Church claims rainbow flag was stolen

The Society said an outpouring of community support shows that hate will not be tolerated.

The flag outside of the Unitarian Universalist Society in Vineyard Haven was cut down over the weekend. — Photo courtesy of Facebook

A Rainbow flag that has hung outside the Unitarian Universalist Society Church off of Main Street in Vineyard Haven was reported missing to the Tisbury police Monday. Dorie Godfrey, president of the church, told police the flag was discovered missing at 10 am, Sunday.

“Godfrey told me a Rainbow flag had been stolen from the church,” Officer Michael Gately wrote in his police report. “Godfrey told me the flag was hung from a six foot outrigger type of flagpole that was attached to the east side of the church.”

According to a Facebook post by the Society, the flag is a “symbol of love and understanding, of welcoming to the LGBT community,” and was cut down sometime over the weekend.

“It is disturbing to think it might have been done by someone who disagrees with our standing on the side of love and welcoming to all the richness and diversity of the human family,” the post said.

The church statement added it is possible it was taken in “a senseless act of vandalism.” Either way, the church assured the public that a new flag it on its way.

The message generated an outpouring of community support on social media. As of Tuesday morning, Ms. Godfrey said a reward valued at more than $2,000 for information regarding the incident made up of cash, a gift card, and service donations from local Island businesses was being offered for information.

Ms. Godfrey said in a phone call with The Times on Tuesday that she had heard nothing back regarding a suspect, but she said the response from the community has been incredible.

“It was shocking to us that this could happen on Martha’s Vineyard because it’s such a place of warm and caring people,” she said. “But that has been totally reinforced by the response from the community.”