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Roswell leaders express faith in census work

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Gerry Chavez, senior pastor of Christ’s Church, speaks with ministers, pastors and clergy during a luncheon of the local Faith-Based Census Committee held at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center on Tuesday. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Gerry Chavez, senior pastor of Christ’s Church, on Tuesday, spoke with about 40 ministers, pastors and clergy who attended a luncheon of the local Faith-Based Census Committee held at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center. He was one of a few speakers who talked about the importance of the upcoming census count to Roswell.

Kristin Waide, chair of the committee, expressed the view that each person is valued by God and deserves to be counted.

Speakers also talked about how the correct census count, which is expected to be above 50,000, will mean hundreds of millions annually for emergency response, transportation, food programs, health services and many other programs.

Chavez said churches provide people with a “refuge, a safe place” and that their outreach to the community can be part of that.

“We have an opportunity in the taking of this census to communicate this message to our people and encourage them to be a part of this census, being part of bringing light into dark places,” Chavez said.

According to Juan Barajas, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau focusing on faith-based committees, New Mexico and Utah have 546 faith-oriented committees so far. Census notices will be sent out starting March 12, and the law requires that all people residing in the United States be counted.