Welcome Your Neighbors

Welcome Your Neighbors
by Rev. Nancy Gowler, First Christian Church of Puyallup

No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.

It started as a simple, hand lettered sign in front of a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. That one message of welcome in English, Spanish and Arabic posted in a multicultural neighborhood in 2015 created a groundswell. Soon a digital design for a yard sign followed, and before long signs were being distributed as quickly as they were printed. To encourage others the congregation made the design available online for anyone to print. Now signs are appearing throughout the United States and Canada, proclaiming a message of welcome.

2017 is the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Camp Harmony, the assembly center at the Western Washington Fairgrounds where 7,390 Americans of Japanese descent from Washington and Alaska were held before being transferred to relocation camps. We in the Northwest live with the painful legacy of times when fearful distrust of neighbors held sway. One wonders whether things might have turned out differently in 1942 if people of faith had posted yard signs throughout our state proclaiming, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” in English and in Japanese?

We can’t change the past, but we can create a better world now. Count our small congregation in—together, we can spread a word of welcome and compassion in our neighborhoods and throughout Pierce County.

Learn more about the movement at https://www.welcomeyourneighbors.org/.  You can print yard/window signs directly from the website or have them professionally printed.  Consider working together with your local faith community neighbors to order from your local print shop in one bulk order to reduce costs!

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