Congressman just one of several community leaders who replaced stolen flags.
By Mary O’KEEFE
Flags that represent the diverse Crescenta Valley community once again fly at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church thanks to Congressman Adam Schiff, a generous congregation and a supportive community.
“The flags are a symbol of the heritage of this congregation,” said Bryan Jones, vicar of St. Luke’s.
The flags representing Mexico, Korea and Armenia as well as Eco-Justice and the Rainbow flag representing gay rights that once flew in front of the old stone church were stolen over the weekend of May 19 and May 20.
“When I heard about the theft, I contacted the vicar and asked him how I could help,” said Congressman Adam Schiff.
He helped by reaching out to representatives in the community with varied heritage, but are all Americans. On Sunday, those community leaders joined Schiff in coming together to replace the stolen flags in a ceremony held on the church steps.
“We are a nation of immigrants,” Schiff said at the flag ceremony. “For generations people have come to this land to search for a better life.”
He added that the nation has grown strong through the contributions of those immigrants, and for generations people have been coming to St. Luke’s to find God and community.
“Where all are welcome to come and worship,” he said.
Schiff presented an American flag to Jones that had been flown over the U.S. Congress.
Arick Gevorkian, chairman of the CV Armenian Community and Youth Center, presented St. Luke’s with a flag representing Armenia.
“I am here not as an Armenian-American but as an American,” he said.
He added that the flags symbolize the CV community and referenced the recent CV Prayer Breakfast that brought leaders from all faiths together.
And then he had a few words for those responsible for stealing the flags.
“Whoever stole the flags – you actually did a good thing. You brought a community together,” he said. “So I am here to tell you if you want to steal this flag, flags are replaceable. We have thousands of [them]. What you cannot take from us is our unity and what you cannot take from us is our understanding.”
Dr. Young Suh, Crescenta Valley Town Council member, represented the Korean community of CV. He presented the church with a Korean flag.
“The flags symbolize the unity and harmony in our community,” he said.
Nancy Gullen, president of the Glendale Latino Association, presented the flag of Mexico.
“I am presenting one of the many flags of the Latin American nation,” she said.
She pointed out the appropriate timing of the ceremony so close to the Fourth of July.
Eric Gutierrez represented the Gay and Lesbian Center of Los Angeles.
“I am gratified [to be] representing the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center today and so gratified to see so many young people standing out here,” he said.
He added he appreciated St. Luke’s creating a community where “we understand the love of God and justice of this great nation can be bigger than what we have been in the past.”