Local Church Reaching Out to the Immigrant Community

By: Stephanie Palmer Email
By: Stephanie Palmer Email

An interfaith message is breathing new life into immigration issues. A Catholic Cardinal leading the Houston-Galveston area is crossing lines of religious beliefs to address laws in Arizona.

Leaders of several church demoninations including a Methodist bishop even a Jewish Rabbi signed a statement sent out by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Pastor Matt Idom leads the flock at First United Methodist Church in Bryan.

"Immigration is the story of humanity across time, and how we can learn to live with our neighbors," said Matt Idom, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bryan.

"There is a seperation of church and state, but we all have to work together," said Michael Balog, usher for First United Methodist Church in Bryan.

The interfaith message expressed concern over Arizona's controversial immigration laws. Michael Balog is member of the First United Methodist Church in Bryan. Balog says Cardinal DiNardo's statement addresses important issues.

"Local law enforcement can't really solve this problem by themselves, said Balog. "It is going to take the states, it is going to take the federal government."

"That it was an interfaith message does speak volumes," said Idom.

Pastor Idom believes the statement set a standard, but it is only the first step.

"I do not believe that we should try to make everybody agree or be of the same opinion," said Idom. "As people meet people of other colors, and other cultures and develop relationships that's where healing happens."

While the Cardinal's message presents a united front from people of different faiths. First United Methodist of Bryan is reaching out to the immigrant community by offering a seminar for anyone seeking legal status.

"As an attorney, I want to use my background and training to do what we can to help," said Daniel Hernandez, the Hernandez Law Firm.

He's leading a seminar Tueday evening at 6:00 p.m. on how to become a legal citizen at the church.

"We don't need to demonize anybody, whether they are for it or against it, we need to come together in good faith and in love and look at what's going on," said Hernandez.

Although this issue has unified local spiritual leaders, they realize their stance is an uphill battle. According to a Gallup poll, most Americans oppose the federal lawsuit seeking to block Arizona's immigration law from going into effect by a margin of 50 to 33 percent.

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