McAllen, TX – An ecumenical group of Christian leaders visited the United States/Mexico border to get a better understanding of the issues migrants and border residents face. The trip, organized by Christian Churches Together (CCT), included participants representing Catholic, Pentecostal, Orthodox, African-American, and Protestant communities and organizations.
“We toured the border not as Catholics or Protestants or Orthodox, but as Christians coming together in our faith to bear witness to the pain and suffering that stems from our country’s immigration policies,” said Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, executive director of CCT. “While much of what we have encountered on this trip is shocking, we have also been fortunate to learn about the good work people do every day on both sides of the border.”
During the two-day tour, participants viewed a detention center for migrant children, witnessed court hearings for migrants, and visited the physical border. The trip was planned before events surrounding the migrant caravan began to unfold in the media.
CCT offers a space that is inclusive of the diversity of Christian families in the United States. It is made up of 38 Christian denominations and organizations representing the five families of the church in the U.S. – Evangelical/Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Historic Black Churches.
“Our unified witness here at the border shows that Christians of all backgrounds take to heart Jesus’ call for us to ‘love thy neighbor’ and ‘welcome the stranger,’” said Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, senior associate for Pan-African and Orthodox Church engagement at Bread for the World and president of the Historic Black Family of CCT.
“We call on our nation’s leaders to pass humane immigration and asylum policies that lead with love and justice,” added Walker-Smith.
Participants in the trip include: Revs. Malavé and Walker-Smith; María del Mar Muñoz -Visoso, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, and David Corrales, program coordinator, Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers, United Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rev. Isaac and Funmi Adeyemi, Redeemed Christian Church of God; Bishop David Avila, International Pentecostal Holiness Church; Susan Hellums, First United Methodist Church; Fr. Michael Thorne Jarrett, Trinity on the Border, Anglican Church in North America; and, Rev. Fr. Antonio Perdomo, St. George the Great Martyr Orthodox Church.