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‘Gospel hospitality and empire’ is theme of November border outreach conference

The PC(USA)’s Frontera de Cristo celebrates 35 years of border ministry with talks, worship, fellowship and food

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

A Presbyterian Mission Agency delegation worships with others along the southern portion of the wall dividing the United States and Mexico. (Photo by Mike Ferguson)

LOUISVILLE — “Responding to an Exodus: Gospel Hospitality and Empire” is the title of a three-day conference in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico on Nov. 8-10.

The conference celebrates the 35th anniversary of Frontera de Cristo, one of five binational ministry sites of Presbyterian Border Region Outreach, the conference sponsor.

Presenters include Cláudio Carvalhaes of Union Theological Seminary in New York City; Perla del Angel, a human rights and immigration attorney; Jocabed Gallegos, Mexico coordinator for Frontera de Cristo; Ramon Garcia, pastor of Voz del Desierto (Voice of the Desert) Presbyterian Church in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico; Alison Harrington, pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona; Saulo Padilla, immigration and education coordinator for the Mennonite Central Committee; Jenea Sanchez, artist and educator in Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta; and Todd Miller, a Tucson-based journalist and writer.

Frontera de Cristo is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministry on the U.S.-Mexico border and is based in Douglas, Arizona. Frontera de Cristo celebrates 35 years of ministry with a conference in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, Nov. 8-10.(Contributed photo)

Scheduled events include:

Friday, Nov. 8 — Pre-conference workshops, opening gathering, worship and a dinner celebrating 35 years of binational ministry.

Saturday, Nov. 9 — An early-morning self-guided prayer walk on the Mexico side of the U.S. border wall, breakfast and prayer time with families seeking asylum, south of the border responses, north of the border responses, a faith response panel and an evening panel on best practices in hospitality, advocacy, legal support and a response to root causes.

Sunday, Nov. 10 — Binational worship service at the border wall with the theme “Encountering God, Encountering One Another,” a post-conference cross planting entitled “A Pilgrimage of Remembrance and Lament,” and the journey through the desert to Guadalupe Canyon, a site of the Sanctuary Underground railroad of the 1980s  and the place where Blanca Elizabeth Aleman of El Salvador died in 2003. Deacon Gabriel Saspe and the School Sisters of Notre Dame will lead the group in a liturgy of remembrance and lament to honor Aleman’s life, grieve her death and recommit to work for an end of deaths in the desert.

Children are welcome at the conference, which features a bilingual children’s track that will include art, music and games together with the children of families seeking asylum. There is no charge for the children’s track.

The registration fee, which includes six meals with no lodging, is $100. Single occupancy at the Hotel La Hacienda in Agua Prieta is $200 per person for two nights and $250 for three nights.  Double occupancy is $150 per person for two nights and $175 for three nights. Whatever the lodging option, the registration cost is included in the price.

Free hostel-style accommodation is also available, but space is limited.

To learn more, visit Register for the conference by clicking here. Conference details are here in English and here in Spanish.

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