We recently signed a settlement agreement with the City of Phoenix that includes these basic elements: 1) Prodigal’s Home ministry is moving into the Sunnyslope neighborhood within 6 months, 2) We will move the current ministry inside, 3) There will be no fine or citation, 4) We are not prohibited from doing ministry with the poor and hungry in the future, 5) We will drop the federal suit.
The City has been diligent in working with CrossRoads to obtain this settlement agreement. John Tutelman and others worked hard to get to this place where we could go forward as a church and as a neighbor.
So, two weeks ago we moved inside per our agreement.
This week the City received a call again. Because we had set up a smoking area at the entrance to the sanctuary, three of our neighbors thought we had NOT moved inside. (There were maybe 10-15 people who utilized the smoking area throughout the morning. The crowd of 150 or so were fed and worshipping inside the sanctuary.)
I want to say again, “Really?” Surely you don’t mean to get upset over such minor matters. Surely your kind hearts didn’t mean to jump to conclusions. Surely those calls to the City, before you checked things out with your neighbor church, were just a mistake…
You see, because of the above agreement with the City of Phoenix, the ministry called Prodigal’s Home will soon be moving into the neighborhood one mile to the north of us. There Prodigal’s Home will increase their ministry, serve the poor daily, and continue to worship and walk with those who have fallen on hard times. Soon, this ministry will not be on the CrossRoads property.
But our actions at this time will be remembered always. How we love each other, or not, will be known. Every word, every email, every call we make is a sign of who we are. I am hoping that our remembrance will be one of grace, of love, and of a kind heart for those who may have difficulties that are different than our own.
Dear Neighbor, I want you to know that we pray for peace and for kindness to be “rule” that we live by. I want you to know there are many, many, many neighbors who live the rule of love. I have seen them. We have heard from them. We have been supported by them. For those of you who have dropped by extra food, some funds, and just an encouraging word, CrossRoads and Prodigal’s Home thanks you from the bottom of our hearts. Your light gave us hope during the struggle of this past year.
In the future, when Prodigal’s Home moves to the north, CrossRoads will continue to be in ministry with them. And we hope that you will too. Your engagement in ministry with us will show those who live on the streets that people in Phoenix care for them.
Our City will be known for something. My hope is that we are known as a place that is kind and loving and shows the hospitality of good neighbors to everyone.
Thank you for engaging in this important conversation. And thank you for making your City and our neighborhood a loving place to live.
In faith, hope, and love,
Pastor Dottie Escobedo-Frank