CrossRoads Church bridges cultures in Phoenix
Rather than focusing on a Spanish-language service that reaches first-generation immigrants, CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Phoenix decided to reach second-generation children and adults.
Pastor of CrossRoads since July, the Rev. Javier Olivares says second-generation immigrants often speak English as their primary language and serve as the bridge between the culture of the United States and the culture of their parents' homeland.
"We have forgotten the second-generation immigrants," says Olivares. "Proof of it is that we don't have many in our United Methodist churches."
Before the church deliberately reached out to second-generation immigrants, CrossRoads had 30 to 60 in worship attendance, one worship service and mostly white and older church members.
In July 2005, shortly after CrossRoads' former pastor the Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank arrived, the church began a contemporary worship service to reach second-generation children and adults in its multicultural, multi-socioeconomic and multiethnic neighborhood.
"We had one Hispanic family come because their daughter, whose primary language was English, brought them," Escobedo-Frank says. "This family modeled the idea of reaching Hispanics by focusing on children."
Today, Olivares says, CrossRoads has two worship services and approximately 278 diverse members. Most of the Hispanic church members are second generation. It is considering a third service to reach Spanish-speaking and bilingual people.
"It's empowering to include other ethnicities and be seated together in worship," he says.
Olivares notes that CrossRoads received a Racial Ethnic Local Church grant from the General Board of Global Ministries and an equitable-compensation grant from the annual conference.
Heather Peck Travis is a freelance journalist living in Glasgow, Ky.
AT A GLANCE CrossRoads United Methodist Church | 7901 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85020 | email@example.com | www.crossroadsphx.com | Pastor: The Rev. Javier Olivares | Attendance: 178 | Desert Southwest Conference