John Fanestil and Taha Hassane on Breaking Down the Barriers in Our Hearts at the U.S.-Mexico Border

The Border Mosque praying at Friendship Park, San Diego, California. | Manuel Ocano

Since November 2011 a faithful group of Christians have gathered for a weekly celebration of communion at Friendship Park, celebrating the sacrament and sharing bread and cup on both sides of the border wall. By the moving of the Spirit, and through the work of a remarkable team of leaders on the Mexican side of the border wall, this practice has given birth to an ongoing community of faith that calls itself The Border Church / La Iglesia Fronteriza. It is the only community in San Diego where each week people standing in two nations share the Christian sacrament of communion together.

For years, people have gathered at Friendship Park in San Diego. A place where borders, and friends, coincide. At the center of Friendship Park stands a historic stone monument, the first in a long line of markers that were first put in place in the 1850s, in the aftermath of the US-Mexico War, to demarcate the new international boundary. Even as the U.S. federal government has erected more and more barriers – first barbed wire, then a fence, then a wall, then a double wall – across the face of the historic meeting place, folks gather every week to join in prayer and meeting with loved ones.

Today, San Diego Border Patrol officials allow limited numbers of the public to access the primary border wall in the United States. The American public is only allowed to visit the border wall on weekends, from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, year-round. A festival-like atmosphere prevails on the Mexican side of the border during “visiting hours,” despite the physical barriers and harmful rhetoric directly affecting their communities. Public access is not restricted on the Mexican side of the border, but people look forward to the few hours allotted to interacting with family and friends through the border wall. Through ordinary acts of love, kindness and prayer, people have sustained families, forged friendships and practiced their faith across the US-Mexico border.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Fanestil and Taha Hassane

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