Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Coal Region Canary
Coal Region CanaryCoal Region Canary

Schuylkill County News

Pine Grove Pastor Claims Vandals Stole, Damaged “Pride” Flags

A Pine Grove pastor claims his church is the victim of two separate incidents involving a rainbow “Pride” flag.

According to public posts on Facebook made by St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, a rainbow-themed “Pride” flag was stolen around September 8, about a month ago.

Presumably, these posts were made by the church’s pastor, Jason Stump. He says the flag was attached to a “public library” box sitting outside the Pine Grove Church on Tulpehocken Street, the borough’s main street.

Pine Grove Church Claims LGBTQ Pride Flags Stolen, Vandalized

Here’s what the church posted:

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“Dear neighbor who stole our 🏳️‍🌈: We’ve got flags for days. So you didn’t really change anything. You didn’t change our hearts. You didn’t change the truth about God and God’s Love for all. You simply increased our understanding of why our ministry in a hurting and broken world is needed. You simply increased our strength and commitment,” the church writes.

“By the way, you did steal property from others. Which is not only an actual crime according to the laws (which supporting and expressing love is not); it’s also clearly against God’s intention for being in community. You should realize you are in the weaker position here and count the cost of that before taking your next step.”

The first flag was up for several weeks before it got swiped, the church says.

Then, it happened again.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The most recent alleged act of vandalism happened late last week, according to a follow-up post from the church.

Instead of swiping the flag, this time the alleged vandals shredded and partially burned the “Pride” flag.

Pastor: Vandals “Blaming the LGBTQ Community” For Their Problems

Stump says in his post through the church that the vandals are “blaming the LGBTQ community” for their problems.

Here’s his full message in response to the alleged second act of vandalism:

“Our rainbow flag is a symbol of love and welcome for all. When you know that folks who were historically excluded from love in the community of church are now fully welcome, and included, you realize that you also are. When you know that we welcome not as a adjustment to the world, but as we have gained a better understanding of God’s intention for creation. Through scripture and the Holy Spirit we have learned. When you know this, you understand that you also have been loved by God…always,” he writes.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“Our flag was stolen a few weeks ago. This time it was shredded and burned. While mounted to a Little Free Library that was built by a beloved local friend months before cancer took him. A place where children come to get books to read. It was set on fire and shredded. But again, our love and our message are only strengthened. You have destroyed a $5 flag and you have taught us why our message is needed and why we hope others join us,” the post continues.

“On a personal note, I pray for you to seek the guidance and counseling you need. Getting that help is only a phone call away. Blaming the LGBTQ community on your problems and perceptions isn’t going to help you. It doesn’t have to be so. You can have peace about this. It is not nice to steal or destroy other people’s property. – Pastor Stump.”

A day later, the church responded to the latest alleged act of vandalism. In its latest post in the “Pride” flag saga, St. Peter’s seems to have moved the flag to a place where it’d be hard for any random vandals to get.

Public Reaction

According to a story on the alleged vandalism at St. Peter’s in Pine Grove, WNEP-TV talked to Stump. He says the church changed its stance on homosexuality in the last two years. And the flag, he says, is a way to show the Pine Grove community that the church is welcoming to the “LGBTQ community”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Many of the people commenting on these church social media posts are rallying behind the church. Some have questioned whether it’s right to sort of taunt the alleged vandals with constant posts about the theft and damage.

One person who claims to belong to a St. Peter’s UCC in Lancaster says the “Pride” flag at their church was recently damaged, too.

No Charges?

Some people responding to the posts and to the WNEP article on social media believe the alleged acts may not be an act of hate. Rather, it could just be local kids being ignorant.

Regardless, Stump says he’s not pressing charges after the incidents the church is reporting on social media.

Canary Reader Survey

Tell us what you think about this story.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Answer our quick poll questions to see how your opinion compares with others.

[poll id=8774]

[poll id=8775]

[poll id=8776]

[poll id=8777]

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Subscribe to Coal Region Canary

Get email updates from Coal Region Canary by becoming a subscriber today. Just enter your email address below to get started!



  1. insider

    October 7, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Usually done by tough guys not sure of their own sexuality.

  2. Christy

    November 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    I live in Tremont. So thankful for this church and proud of this church. I just found this out and hoping I can get involved and support this in every way I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More From The Canary

Local Weather

Don't forget Minersville Community Day, too!

Local Weather

Are you a glass-half-full or half-empty person?

Local Weather

Hopefully, we can fend off the rain chances in the forecast for Saturday, too.

Local Weather

It'll be one of those days when the high is as high as the low or the low is as high as the high.

Local Weather

Rain moves in at night.

Local Weather

The Spring we all love is back.

Local Weather

The 70s make a comeback after today.

PA Lottery Numbers

Wednesday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Saturday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Thursday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Sunday's winning numbers