Bishop Mike Watson spent yesterday on the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, where he joined other bishops from around the U.S., Africa, Asia and Europe.
The purpose of the bishops’ visit was to immerse themselves in the reality of life at the border and sharpen their focus on how The United Methodist Church can be in ministry with border residents.
The bishops divided into four groups, each with different itineraries.
Bishop Watson was part of a group that visited the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest border crossing in the world where some 100,000 people a day cross between the two countries. He also saw the border wall, the most striking symbol of U.S. border enforcement policies, and the Plaza de las Americas.
Another group of bishops crossed into Mexico and visited the Plaza del Bordo, an open-air migrant encampment that includes both internal migrants, as well as immigrants who have crossed into the U.S., been detained by the U.S. Border Patrol and have been repatriated or returned to Mexico.
The bishops distributed health kits to the community and visited a ministry of the Methodist Church of Mexico. Additionally, they joined for a service of Holy Communion and hiked through the Tijuana Estuary, one of the last undeveloped areas in the region. The hike allowed participants to experience a bit of the terrain that immigrants crossing over into the U.S. navigate.
Border community leaders, leaders of the Methodist Church of Mexico, area United Methodists and news media joined the bishops during the visit.
Pictured is Bishop Watson at the US-Mexico border with two of our Bridges partners: Bishop Eduard Khegay of the Eurasia Area and Bishop Rudy Juan of the Manilla Area.