Rainbow Flag Stolen from Church for Third Time in Three Months

Contact: Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner
703-956-9155, ext. 101


            (Reston, Virginia, June 12, 2019)—The rainbow flag that sits outside of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston (UUCR) on the top of a hill on Wiehle Avenue was removed by vandals some time on the evening of June 11, 2019, one week after the church co-sponsored Reston Pride.  This was the third time the flag has been removed from the property in as many months.  The missing eleven-foot-tall flag was reported to the Fairfax County police who are using sophisticated techniques to examine who might have torn town the flagpole and removed the flag.  The flag is the only freestanding rainbow flag in Reston, Virginia that flies year-round.  It has been in place since 2017 without incident until this spring.

            “We proudly exhibit a rainbow flag in front of our church property as a symbol to all who pass by that we support and celebrate sexual and gender diversity and that all are welcome at our church,” said Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, minister at UUCR.  “As Unitarian Universalists we believe in living our faith aloud and the inherent dignity and worth of all people.”

            “We are deeply saddened that some person or persons have chosen to steal our flag and hope that it will be returned to us.  More, we hope for an opportunity to create an opportunity for restorative justice with that person or persons so that they will come to understand and accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Rev. Haffner.

            Rev. Haffner became UUCR’s settled minister in 2016 and created the first ever Reston Pride at the church in 2018.  On June 1st, nearly 5000 people from the Greater Reston area celebrated the second Reston Pride at the historic Lake Anne Plaza.

“We will not be deterred by what we fear is a hate crime.  We will continue to fly a rainbow flag on our property even if it means buying a new one every month.  We hope that other churches, synagogues and mosques will put a rainbow flag on their property, so that all will know that people of every faith in Reston support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.  UUCR would be pleased to buy flags for any faith community that requests it.”


 The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston was founded nearly 50 years ago to provide a voice for liberal religion that embraces all.  Its mission is to nurture spirituality, the individual search for truth and meaning, and to help heal injustices in our community, state, nation, and world.