Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Published May 1, 2003

The diocese of Ottawa is answering the question “How can you go to church if you can’t find it?” with a program called Let This Be A Sign Unto You. Inaugurated in 2000, the open-ended program awards diocesan grants to parishes to improve their signage. The program distributed $5,800 to 10 parishes last year and $7,600 to 10 parishes in 2001, according to Rev. John Stopa, chair of the diocese’s communications committee.

The idea came from diocesan bishop Peter Coffin. “He was on holidays and went to a church that had a sign with the name of a rector who hadn’t been there since 1960. So he said, “Let’s do something about this,?” related Mr. Stopa.

Grants are available for new signs that may point the direction to the church building from an intersection or be installed in a tourist information centre, provide accurate service times for summer and winter and provide contact numbers for further information.

The point is to make information clear and readable, said Mr. Stopa. “In my own parish,” he added, “the sign didn’t indicate the times of service.” In addition, some parishes use the program to replace signs that have been stolen or hit by vehicles, he said. The maximum grant for one parish is $700, he said.

At Toronto’s Anglican Book Centre, a national retailer of books, vestments and other religious items, a metallic sign – familiar in many Canadian communities – reading “The Anglican Church Welcomes You,” with the Canadian’s church’s shield and the name of the parish, costs $325. The store has sold about 100 signs in the past couple of years, said assistant manager Daniel Graves.


  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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