In recent years, EDS has led pilgrimages to Montgomery and Selma, the US borderlands, and Centro Franciscano on Long Island. Each trip has invited participants to bear witness to historic and present-day oppression, engage in critical theological reflection, and equip themselves for faith-based action and advocacy in their communities.

Pilgrimage to Selma and Montgomery (2019, 2022, and 2024)

In partnership with The Church of the Heavenly Rest (Manhattan), members of the EDS community traveled through Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, and Hayneville. The pilgrimages included a tour and conversation with Civil Rights activist and Selma resident Joanne Bland, a visit to the Rosa Parks Museum, time at the Church of the Good Shepherd/Iglesia de Todos Santos in Montgomery, the Women of Gynecology site, a visit to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the EJI Museum in Montgomery, the Jonathan Daniels Memorial in Hayneville, and the Absalom Jones Center in Atlanta.

This pilgrimage will take place again in 2024; stay tuned!

Pilgrimage to US borderlands (2019 and 2023)

Members of the EDS community embarked upon a six-day journey to the El Paso borderlands in 2023. Their hosts included Canon Lee Curtis and Ana Reza at St. Christopher's Episcopal church and shelter, where the group served at the short-term shelter for immigrants and refugees. The group traveled to Ciudad Juarez, met with Ruben García, and engaged in a ritual of remembrance for the victims of the August 2019 Wal-Mart white supremacist mass shooting. They learned about the Blackwell School in Marfa, met with the border patrol, and visited a segregated cemetery. The pilgrimage concluded with a final trek and reflection led by Ana Reza and site visits to a women's cooperative in Palomas, Mexico and Border Servants Corps shelter in Las Cruces, New Mexico. EDS gives thanks to Canon Lee Curtis, Ana Reza, and Fr. Mike Wallens of the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande for their hospitality and leadership on this trip.

2019’s pilgrimage to the borderlands was part of Annunciation House’s “Border Awareness Experience” and included a visit to “El Buen Samaritano” migrant shelter in Ciudad Juarez, which houses men, women, and families who are seeking asylum in the United States and Mexico; Las Mujeres de Esperanza y Fe, a women’s collective that is building a better future for its members, most of whom are former maquiladora workers; a presentation by Kathleen Decker from the public defender’s office on the process for trying undocumented immigrants who do not seek asylum; a public relations presentation by Border Patrol followed by a thoughtful discussion on what was heard and what was missing; a visit to Mujer Obrera, a collective that has been advocating for maquiladoras both pre- and post-NAFTA, a presentation by Molly Malloy on the recent history of extreme violence in Mexico; a visit with Fr. Peter and Sister Betty who have been doing political activism among the poor of Latin America since the 60s; and a final gathering at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church to learn more about diocesan initiatives for asylum seekers in in Juarez and El Paso.

Centro Franciscano (2022)

In March 2022, a group of EDS students and staff visited the Rev. Gerardo Romo García, the Bishop’s Vicar for Latino Ministries in the East End of Long Island, at Centro Franciscano. Students observed and interacted with community organizers, union organizers, grassroots activists and the unique model of church planting through Franciscan service that characterizes the Center. The pilgrimage explored the intersections between immigration, work, race, ethnicity and language diversity, all in a rural community with close ties to the New York City. Case studies included the recent successful campaign for drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrant workers, labor organizing in vineyards and nurseries, advocacy for census participation among Mixteco-speaking indigenous migrants, and cross-class and cross-cultural interactions facilitated through ministries of hospitality and generosity.

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