Friday, June 4, 2010

Phoenix's Trinity Cathedral at the center of Arizona's immigration debat

From ELO- (Nick Knisley served in this diocese for several years)

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral sits on a divide in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, between the city's oldest Hispanic barrio to the southeast and the first wave of Anglo suburbs to the northwest. Its location also puts it at the center of the nation's immigration debate.
"That the cathedral lives on that fault line physically seems to be too good an opportunity to pass up," said the Very Rev. Nicholas Knisely, Trinity's dean, in a May 31 telephone interview. The opportunity, for the church and the Diocese of Arizona, lies in being "a crossroads ministry and inviting people in from different directions. My hope is that what we're trying to do at the cathedral can spread into the larger community."

Two years ago, Trinity added a midday Spanish-language service and watched its membership grow from 600 to 900 members. On May 30, Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith received and welcomed 20 new Episcopalians to the congregation during the service.

"You're not just coming to church on Sunday, you're doing the work of Christ in the world. I especially want to assure you that during this difficult time … you have the complete support of the Diocese of Arizona," he said in English, as the Rev. Canon Carmen B. Guerrero translated his words to Spanish. "We are going to do everything we can to defeat this terrible piece of legislation," Smith added, referring to Arizona's new immigration law (SB 1070) aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants, and scheduled to go into effect July 29.

"I know this has been a scary time, a very frightening time… (but) I am going to stand with you."

The congregation listened intently to Smith and when he finished it burst into hearty applause. A day earlier, tens of thousands of people -- some in support of the law, others in opposition -- from across the nation converged in Phoenix to participate in events and rallies.

More here-

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