We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbour!

Welcome neighbour signs:

Over 200 signs saying, “No matter where you are from, we are glad you are our neighbour” in three languages are sprouting up in the Kitchener area.  With the same words also in Spanish or French and Arabic, they hope to counter anti-immigrant sentiments that have surfaced recently, and invite conversations with neighbours about Canada’s welcome.

The signs originated with Immanuel Mennonite Church in Virginia in 2016 in response to U.S. campaign rhetoric. They have struck a chord and have spread to many locations in North America and beyond see: google map. The massacre at the mosque in Quebec City added urgency to make visible local signs of acceptance of all people, especially targeted groups like Muslims.

Opportunity to purchase a sign for your front yard, and maybe inspire your neighbour get one, too, will be soon be available through Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. Speak to Scott Albrecht or Rebecca Yoder Neufeld for more info.

Signs were distributed at First Mennonite Church on Sunday, February 5, and additional ones are being distributed by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada at cost ($10).  Persons interested in acquiring a sign may contact Joan Schooley (jschooley@mcec.ca or 226-476-2500).

First Mennonite has a long history of welcoming refugees, beginning with Hmong people from Laos in 1979, continuing with those fleeing violence in Central America in the 1980s.  The church has also sponsored refugees from Somalia and Colombia.  Most recently, it partnered with two other congregations to sponsor a large family from Syria.  Pastor Nancy Brubaker says, we are only enriched by the arrival and integration of people from all over the globe – it doesn`t take long for each one to feel like family as we share our stories and live into the peace that Canada provides.

* For background about how the sign has gained traction and press coverage:

https://immanuelmennonite.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/welcome-sign/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/amid-protests-churchs-message-of-welcome-echoes-across-us/2017/01/31/30bfc4c4-e7cf-11e6-903d-9b11ed7d8d2a_story.html?postshare=4571485898963252&tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.a7911e75f612

http://mennoworld.org/2016/12/27/news/yard-signs-all-neighbors-welcome-here/

www.facebook.com/welcomeyourneighbors

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