By Rev. Randy J. Mayer
The United States is in a season of great concern over the immigration crisis and the constant rhetoric about the border wall. For nearly twenty years The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ has actively been involved in the humanitarian movement working with migrants in the desert in Southern Arizona as well as advocating for better understanding of immigration and border issues. At the end of August we hosted the national UCC gathering called “A Faithful Witness at the Border” which brought to the border over 100 people from across the denomination as well as other faith communities. This gathering gave participants a first-hand experience of a Federal Court proceeding called Operation Streamline, visited impacted communities in Nogales, Mexico, shared bread and cup at the Border Wall, held a vigil at a Border Patrol station, walked in the desert to migrant memorials, and so much more.
The Good Shepherd is committed to experiential education as we host individuals and groups that want to come to the borderlands and learn about immigration and border issues. Please contact us if you are in the area or are planning a mission trip.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-625-1375.
Or check out our website: https://thegoodshepherducc.org
We also host a couple of yearly gatherings that give folks a special opportunity to experience the cost and joy of the borderlands.
UCC Pre- School of Americas Watch Border Encuentro, November 14th -18th
For those interested we will be organizing a special UCC immersion experience on Nov 14th and 15th before the SOA Watch event. This will include going to Operation Streamline, a trip to Nogales, Mexico to visit a few of the migrant shelters as well as a desert walk to migrant memorials. Participants can then fully participate in the SOA Watch events that begin on Friday, Nov 16th-18th. SOA Watch has been a longtime advocate to stop US intervention in Latin America and to close down the school where Latin American military officers receive training by the US Army. In 2016 they moved their protest to the US/ Mexico Border which has become an incredible time of gathering for workshops, songs, and action. For More information: www.soaw.org/border/
Seventh Annual---Common Ground on the Border---January 17th -19th
We have found the Borderlands to be the perfect place to explore the arts, touch the culture and have deeper conversations about the complicated issues that collide here. Common Ground on the Border is a three-day event that packs in a trip to the border, two concerts, lectures from national, regional and international scholars and activists, as well as 17 different music, art, writing and dance classes. Some of the highlights this year will be a concert by Mexican/Americana singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa, a conversation with Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada who has a unique perspective of the border after 50 years in law enforcement, and a visit from Phoenix Attorney Ray Ybarra-Maldonado who was instrumental in working with the Hispanic community that eventually led to a guilty verdict of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In the past few years more than 25 UCC Congregations have brought groups to Common Ground on the Border. Get more information at: https://www.commongroundonthehill.org/cgotb_home.html