Church leaders will focus on diversity issues in forum

  • Oscar Halpert<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:58am

The subject of diversity in the world of religion has put Episcopalians front and center over the past year.

The Rev. Lawrence Perry, Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett, knows that the subject of diversity reaches into his own church, beginning of all places, with him.

“Though my name doesn’t reflect it, I’m of Puerto Rican origin,” Perry said. “So really, I’m the first Hispanic who has been called to Trinity.”

Perry is one of three religious leaders who will be part of a panel called Understanding Religion and Cultural Differences and Similarities from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6215 196th St. SW. in Lynnwood.

The panel is part of the 2007 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration that begins Wednesday Jan. 10 and continues through Monday, Jan. 15 at various Lynnwood locations, including the Lutheran church, Lynnwood Convention Center and Edmonds Community College.

Joining Perry on the panel will be Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman of Temple Beth Or in Everett and Mahbubul Alam Ali, president of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Lynnwood. Pastor William Sundberg of Trinity Lutheran Church will moderate the panel.

Perry helped establish the Anti-Racism Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, which represents Western Washington Episcopal churches.

Historically, the church’s membership has been mostly white.

“We’re seeing some change with diversity within the parish itself,” Perry said, “and we’ve made it a point that we are a church that welcomes all people.”

One change: The Very Rev. Robert Taylor, a gay man, is dean of the cathedral for the diocese.

“There’s been some intentionality with respect to the diocese that the mission of the church is to be welcoming as well,” Perry said.

The 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 with a 2 1/2-hour forum on immigrant rights and naturalization at Edmonds Community College’s Triton Union Building, room 202, 20000 68th Ave. W. in Lynnwood. Krystal Noga, a Central Washington University-Lynnwood professor, will moderate a panel on the rights and treatment of documented and undocumented residents. Other events include:

• Journalist and author Juan Williams will give the keynote address on “The Changing Face of America: Working Together for the Future” from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12 at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

• Jim Hills, publisher of Enterprise Newspapers, will moderate a journalism forum for students and aspiring journalists with keynote speaker Juan Williams from 2-3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12 at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

• Maqdaleno Rose-Avilla, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, will give a speech titled “Common People Who Do Uncommon Acts of Justice” from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12 at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

• On Monday, Jan. 15, Edmonds Community College students will participate in service projects organized by the University of Washington at Bothell.

• In a related event, Living Voices, a Seattle-based theater company that fosters social justice by bringing history to life on stage, presents its multi-media production about the fight for civil rights in America, The Right to Dream, 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18 in Triton Union Building 202 at Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. The performance is open to the public. Free.

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