Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Border Ministries

This post follows up on the prior one, which discussed the recent Border Forum at my church. This post includes more information about various Christian ministries and efforts to raise consciousness of the humanitarian tragedy along the border.

The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona has a Border Ministries program. The link below has information at it. The members of my church who visited the border recently indicate the program consists of just one priest and a few interns.


The Reverend Seth Polley (who shepherds St. John’s parish in Bisbee and St. Stephen’s in Douglas) is very active in border issues and leads that Border Ministries program. The website for St. John’s is available at the link below.


Reverend Polley has had a blog, which is available at the link below. It has not been kept current, but his perspective is interesting to read.


The Presbyterian church has also been active in border ministries. They have founded “Frontera de Cristo,” which can be translated as “Christ’s Border.” Frontera de Cristo is a vibrant program with opportunities for short term and longer term service projects, and various outreach and advocacy efforts. During their trip to the border, my fellow congregants learned about the Café Justo cooperative program for fair trade coffee development in Mexico. Frontera de Christo also hosts the weekly precession in the desert that I referenced in the prior post. Take a look at the organization’s website below; they have some insightful pictures and information about things that are happening along the border.


My fellow congregants also visited a clinic in Naco on the Mexico side of the border. The link below contains some information about that clinic, which is sponsored by Christians on the American side of the border.


Members of my church also visited the desert near the border and learned of the work of a non-denominational faith-based organization called “Humane Borders,” which helps to alleviate the suffering and prevent the deaths of migrants. Among the organization’s activities, they have established a network of water stations where migrants can get clean water while they are in the desert and exposed to brutal conditions. The organization’s website is available at the link below.


Finally, my fellow congregants visited the Centro de Atención al Migrante Exodus (“CAME”) in Agua Prieta on the Mexico side of the border. It is a ministry of the Catholic church and provides short-term food and a place to stay for people who have attempted unsuccessfully to migrate to the U.S. In recent years, the U.S. Border Patrol has returned migrants to Mexico, but to a different place than their point of entry into the United States. As a result, the returned migrants are often disoriented and even unsure where along the border they have landed. CAME meets the acute needs of such migrants as they attempt to figure out what to do next. The link below is an old article, but contains a brief mention of the CAME ministry in Agua Prieta.


Exodus 12:49

There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.

Leviticus 19:33

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.

Leviticus 25:35

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.

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