Phoenix-based Grand Canyon Presbytery has responded to passage of the recent immigration law in Arizona by launching an “accompaniment” program to support Hispanic residents of the state.

Non-Hispanic Presbyterians in the presbytery have covenanted to attend worship services in the presbytery’s five Hispanic congregations. “Our intent is to show solidarity with our Hispanic brothers and sisters and to let them know they are not alone as they face the threats posed by the new law,” said the Rev. David Wasserman, Grand Canyon’s interim executive, adding, “We welcome others to come join us.”

It’s entirely possible, Wasserman said, “that we may need to extend our accompaniment program – depending on how things unfold – to doctors’ visits, grocery shopping trips and other aspects of the daily life of our Hispanic residents.”

Wasserman said he wants commissioners to the 219th General Assembly (2010) to be aware that Grand Canyon’s accompaniment program is part of the context in which the Assembly will be considering other responses to Arizona’s immigration law, including a proposal to refrain from holding national PC(USA) meetings in any state where such legislation exists. 

The Assembly should remember that economic boycotts have a history of success in Arizona – a partial boycott persuaded the Arizona legislature to reinstate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a holiday a number of years ago, Wasserman noted.

“But,” Wasserman emphasized, “I want the Assembly to also be aware that the Presbytery of Grand Canyon is responding, and that any Presbyterian is welcome to join us in this effort.”