Thieves steal LGBT banners from Cal Heights church—twice

Thieves stole rainbow-colored banners and drapery from the exterior of Cal Heights United Methodist Church twice in the last month, most recently Monday—the day after Easter, the pastor said.

The church hung the banners to show solidarity with the LGBT community. The larger denomination is in the midst of a dispute over whether gay-friendly policies are in line with Christian teaching.

“Our staff, particularly those in the LGBT community, are getting a little anxious,” said the Rev. Douglas Dickson, who reported the crime to Long Beach police. “You don’t expect that in Long Beach.”

Police in an email Wednesday said they have no suspects yet, and that the investigation is ongoing.

The first incident occurred about a month ago, when drapery surrounding the church’s pillars was taken down, the pastor said.

The church, at 3759 Orange Ave., put up new banners that said “We welcome all” in rainbow lettering, this time with zip ties to secure them—but someone cut them off and stole the banners.

The church installed new banners and signage on Wednesday that said the church was a “reconciling ministry” that welcomes all people of diverse walks, and that, “You can’t love God and hate your neighbor.” The church is also looking into installing surveillance cameras.

“We’re not going to stop letting people know our support,” Dickson said. “We’re not going to stand down.”

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.