Ready for an honest conversation about immigration and border issues? “Crossing Borders: Encountering God,” is an event for church members, church leaders and other interested individuals addressing border issues confronting the church and the world. The conference will be held April 15-17 in Phoenix, Ariz. In advance of the event, Frontera de Cristo, a border ministry supported by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is hosting a border immersion trip to Douglas, Ariz., and Agua Prieta, Mexico.

The conference is designed as a conversation in which American participants can join with leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico (Iglesia Nacional Presbyteriana de Mexico) to learn and explore biblical understandings of immigration, living in a cross-cultural society and eliminating injustice and fear. Workshops will be offered on 24 different topics, including health care and education issues within immigrant communities, Presbyterian border ministries, PC(USA)’s immigration policy statements and advocacy, building cross-cultural ministries in presbyteries, Middle Eastern Christians in the United States and equipping congregations for immigrant ministries.

“‘Crossing Borders: Encountering God’ provides an opportunity for a bi-national conversation about border and immigration issues,” said the Reverend Janet DeVries, synod executive and stated clerk of the Synod of the Southwest. “We discover ourselves as neighbors and friends in faith through honest dialogue about complex issues of church and culture.”  

“The conference is addressing important and timely issues that are of concern not only to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but to the nation,” said the Reverend Raafat Girgis, associate for multicultural congregational support at the General Assembly Mission Council. “Multicultural ministries are about breaking barriers and boundaries, and welcoming new immigrants into the life of the church.” 

Conference leaders include the Reverend Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly; the  Reverend Saul Feria, moderator of the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico; Dr. Minerva Carcaño, bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church; Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes, assistant professor of worship and preaching at Louisville Seminary; Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi, professor of world Christianity at Columbia Seminary, and staff of Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women ministry area of the General Assembly Mission Council.

Sponsoring organizations for the conference include: the multicultural congregational support office of the General Assembly Mission Council, Synod of the Southwest, Synod of the Sun, Presbyterian Border Ministries, Frontera de Cristo, the office of immigration issues and counsel of the Office of the General Assembly and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. 

The cost of the conference is $275 (which includes registration, meals and lodging) or $140 for commuters. The optional pre-conference is an additional $200. Registration is offered through the Web site of the Synod of the Southwest.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comprises more than 2 million members in more than 10,000 congregations, answering Christ’s call to mission and ministry throughout the United States and the world.