Banner Vandalism: Come and talk to us
The message that everyone is welcome, including immigrants and refugees, particularly Muslims, and also the marginalized LGBTQIA communities, is more important than ever for faith communities to proclaim. We say at St. Jude's, 'Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here' and we want to be clear about that.
A number of church folks approached us, requesting we put up the banner saying 'Immigrants and Refugees Welcome' from the non-profit organization Faithful America as as we approached Christmas. It's a time when we highlight the stories in our sacred texts about Joseph, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, who later became refugees and exiles in Egypt with their baby son Jesus, when their lives were in danger from the ruling powers.
We received a number of very positive emails and visits from neighborhood people telling us how grateful they were for the sign, and that they were proud to be a member of the community. Our leadership decided it was an important message, and that we would keep the banner up for the next months. In early January, it disappeared. Our leadership decided to replace it, as it seemed to resonate with the community. We put it back up on Friday January 27, coincidentally also National Holocaust Day and the day of the presidential executive order regarding immigration and travel bans. On Sunday night February 5, one of the sign poles was damaged, possibly by someone who disagrees with the message. We may think that this happens in other neighborhoods but it happened here also. We need to speak up to ensure that people in Cupertino know that they are all welcome here. I am sure that we will replace it.
We believe in a God of love and that we are called to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. We believe all people are made in the image of God and therefore we strive to be a welcoming community, though it can be challenging! I myself am an immigrant, holding dual citizenship as an American and a South African. There are numerous dual citizens and immigrants with their families in our church. We want to be a sign of God's welcoming love in our communities and our neighborhood, so we will keep the sign up.
Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome here.