July 9, 2020
Flags fly in front of FBC Grand Bay. Four of the flags were stolen over the Independence Day weekend by a thief who returned them with a note of apology. (Lisa Patteson)
By Caleb Yarbrough
It’s not everyday that a church is robbed, but it’s even less common for the offender to return what was stolen with a written apology.
First Baptist Church, Grand Bay, recently placed American flags across its campus to celebrate the July 4 holiday. Ribbons were placed on each of the flags to honor veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
On Sunday, July 5, members of First Baptist noticed that four of the flags were missing, according to a WPMI 15 report.
The anonymous thief stole multiple flags from the church’s property but later returned the flags with a note asking for the church’s forgiveness for the deed.
The letter reads, in part, “I am sorry for taking the flags. I did not mean any disrespect though I know it was wrong. I asked for forgiveness as soon as I got them. I was drinking and had a dumb idea. … Again, I truly apologize and here are your flags back well took (sic) care of. I am not a bad person, just a little messed up but I am spiritual and have begged forgiveness. Please forgive me. Sincerely, I’m sorry.”
The individual added, “P.S. The flags are beautiful and I love God and America.”
‘Don’t want to embarrass them’
Royce Dubose, pastor of First Baptist, told WPMI 15 that First Baptist does not know whom the culprit was, and that “to be honest with you we don’t want to know.”
“And not because we are angry at them but because we don’t want to embarrass them. We don’t want them to feel any more remorse than they are already feeling,” said Dubose.
A July 6 Facebook post on FBC Grand Bay’s page features photos of the returned flags and of the offender’s apology letter. Church leaders said they accepted the unnamed perpetrator’s apology but also invited him or her to attend their church.
“Praise God our stolen flags from First Baptist Church Grand Bay were returned with a note of apology. We would like to let whoever it was, since you didn’t sign your note, know that your apology is accepted and you are invited to attend our Church services anytime,” the church’s post stated.