Caminantes Border Immersion
Jeremias 9:2 "¡Oh, quién me diese en el desierto un albergue de caminantes"
Comunidad Limen and First Christian Church, Tucson, are joining efforts to offer learning experiences on the US-Mexico border. We invite you to participate in an immersion to inspire your theological imagination and move you towards a Christian praxis for justice.
Caminantes is founded in the tradition of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In an environment saturated with fear-based divisive rhetoric, creating a sentiment of “otherness," we offer a counter-narrative based on radical welcome and hospitality, an open invitation to a table of abundance. "We are not about building taller walls; we build bigger tables."
Who can participate?
Church groups, seminarians, pastors, leaders, activists, and anyone with a passion for social justice.
We use see-judge-act as a method of analysis to reflect on the realities of border communities and to put our faith values into transformative social action.
Our curriculum follows these three steps:
Step 1. See
We see what is happening at the border.
What are the historical root causes that shaped the current context?
Step 2. Judge
We judge our current social and spiritual context through the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Testament.
Does our present reality fit God’s plan for the world?
Step 3. Act
We create an action plan for your church community to act as Jesus would in our world.
Plan your visit
Why visit the US-Mexico Border?
Over the last 20 years, the humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexico border has grown dire. Research conducted by the New York Times explains that since the implementation of "Prevention Through Deterrence," the human toll of U.S. migration policies has grown exponentially.
The call to us all is a simple one. We need to raise awareness about the urgent need for action to prevent the staggering number of deaths of migrants in the desert as they attempt to reach safety and a better future.
Why Tucson, Arizona?
Historically, the Sonoran Desert has been a natural corridor for human migration, an extended geographical area encompassing Mexico and the United States. The Arizona border with Mexico cuts through the middle of this ecosystem. The desert has been a strategic part of enforcing migration policies. Doris Meissner, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton Administration, said, "It was our sense that the number of people crossing through Arizona would go down to a trickle once people realized" how dangerous it was. The militarization of border communities is part of the "Border Patrol Strategic Plan of 1994 and Beyond," thus pushing migrants to the most remote and dangerous parts of the desert. The Tucson Sector is the number one station, with more agents than other Border Patrol sectors. The Rio Grande Valley has the second with the largest number of agents.
Driving from Tucson to the border, one gets to witness the effect on communities subject to military control and the deadly risks of crossing the border through the most remote areas of the desert.
Why an immersion experience with Caminantes?
Caminantes was born as a ministry of Comunidad Limen Christian Church from a commitment to share our migration stories to inspire collective action and social change.
Limen is the Latin root for the word 'liminal.' The term 'liminal' in English also means 'threshold.' The same word is found in Spanish with a subtle nuance; ' liminal' is a synonym for 'frontera.'
Richard Rohr suggests considering liminal spaces as sacred spaces. Rohr says we experience profound transformation when we allow ourselves to be drawn into the sacredness of liminality. Liminal space can be physical, emotional, or psychological in-betweenness. The people on the borderlands are constantly being drawn into the liminal spaces of faith, politics, and culture. The poet Alberto Rios says, "The border is a place of plans constantly broken and repaired and broken" again. The uncertainty of being neither here nor there leaves a person vulnerable and utterly dependent on God. The border is a sacred space where God’s grace abounds. We come here to be renewed and transformed.
Caminantes is an immigrant-led program inviting individuals and groups to visit the border region and, through a migrant's lens, gain a firsthand understanding of the fundamental issues impacting border communities. Participants will learn about the historical root causes generating waves of forced migration from Latin America to the United States. Also, our program is designed to inspire one's theological imagination and move participants towards a Christian praxis for justice.
FCC history aiding migrants and asylum seekers.
First Christian Church has had a long history of being deeply involved in responding to injustice across the border. In1984, FCC voted to become a sanctuary church hosting refugees in the church and in congregants’ home from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The entire church was investigated by the FBI tracking license plates of all congregants who stood strong together in their commitment to justice. This continued through the trial of the Sanctuary Movement.
In the summer of the year 2000, Humane Borders, was founded with the assistance of First Christian Church. This organization puts water along the desert routes border crossers used. This organization continues today putting gallons of water weekly in areas that are the most desolate.
The church continues to offer sanctuary and housing to people seeking safety. A great blessing was when we were able to assist Casas Alitas with shelter and arranging transportation for people who had crossed the border and been released from detention. In 2019 and 2021 we were able to host dozens of families one week a month as well as long term sanctuary for divided families dealing with deportation orders.
FCC is also a partner congregation in the Arizona Disciples Border Initiative. The FCC Hospitality Center is a ministry providing a safe and welcoming space for individuals and families seeking asylum or recently released from detention. The center offers basic needs such as food, shelter, and hygiene facilities.
Who can participate?
We invite church groups, seminarians, pastors, leaders, activists, and anyone with a passion for social justice to come and join the movement.
Caminantes Border Immersion key components:
Daily fellowship, including meals, dialogue, and spiritual practices with migrants.
Dismantling Doctrine of Discovery in the Borderlands.
A Migrant's Immigration Timeline Workshop
Experiential Learning: Guided tours to the border, migrant trails in the desert, and visit to border communities.
Walking Together: Towards a praxis for justice, embodying a gospel of accompaniment.
How much does it cost?
There's a fee associated with our program, and it includes transportation, meals, and lodging.
Cost: $170 x person x day.
Travel and Logistics:
Typically, Caminantes is a 4-day program, starting Monday through Thursday. The goals of a border immersion might be different for each group. We can tailor your experience according to your group's objectives.
Groups traveling outside Arizona plan to arrive on Monday during the morning-afternoon time and return home on Thursday afternoon-evening time.
Access to First Christian Church is very convenient. The Tucson International Airport is located 20 mins from the church.
Please, contact staff about transportation options from Airport to FCC.
Groups and individuals stay at First Christian Church dormitories. We have comfortable bedrooms that can host up to 16 individuals. Showers are also conveniently located across the hallway from the dormitories.
Because of time availability, our goal is to form 15-person cohorts for each immersion trip. If your group is less than 15 people, let us know of your group’s openness to participate in the immersion program with other groups. Please mark on your registration form "yes" or "no," and we will be happy to accommodate your group’s needs.
Our program's design is intended to create as much connection and fellowship between migrant families, guests at the Hospitality Center, and groups in the Caminates immersion program. The Hospitality Center is located on the upper level of FCC's campus, while the dormitories for the border immersion program are on the lower level.
All meals are included for each of the days of participation. The host churches and migrant families prepare all the meals as part of the program.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with the staff if your group has a diversity of dietary needs.
Click on the link below:
Print this form, and return a completed copy at least one month before travel:
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other non-profits in Tucson working for immigrant justice:
740 E Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719
520 389 4383