In recent times it has become all too common, it seems, for people who have recently arrived in Canada as immigrants or as refugees — especially from certain parts of this world — to be targeted with behaviour that is less than welcoming and loving.

At St Andrew’s we wanted to do something to counteract this disturbing trend. We read this passage of scripture on Sunday:

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:33,34)

This passage reminds us that God cares how we treat people who are outsiders or marginalized for any reason. When we go through a time when there is a large number of immigrants or refugees, it will inevitably create some stresses and strains but that should never make us forget the need to treat our neighbours with love and respect, no matter where they come from.

To affirm this important and Biblical truth, the Session of St. Andrews decided to erect a sign that proclaims it in three languages: French, English and Arabic. The third language is Arabic because speakers of that language make up a group that is often targeted in subtle and not-so-subtle ways these days. Before we put up the sign we took a picture to demonstrate our solidarity with our neighbours.

And here is the sign later this morning installed in front of the church building:

If you would like to find out more about these signs and their history in nearby communities, follow this link:

CBC News article about the signs.