About EPISO / Border Interfaith


El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) / Border Interfaith is a broad-based community organization located in El Paso, Texas.  Our members are faith and neighborhood institutions who work across religious, racial, ethnic, economic, generational and neighborhood lines for the good of the whole community.

EPISO/Border Interfaith believes that in order for community leaders to be effective, we must be educated and informed citizens.  We engage in public discourse and initiate action guided by that conversation, creating opportunities for ordinary people to make real and dramatic change in the community.  We strive to hold elected officials accountable for their public responsibilities.

Affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the West/Southwest IAF and the Texas IAF, EPISO/Border Interfaith builds relational power and exercises that power to strengthen our communities and bring about a more just society.  

Teaching & Practicing Democracy

EPISO / Border Interfaith embraces a vision of a vibrant bilingual border community.  We are convinced that El Paso can be a better place to live – with better schools, better jobs, and healthier citizens.

  • We commit as institutional members to work for a community where the schools are excellent, all residents have affordable healthcare, and all people are treated with respect.
  • We hold our elected officials accountable to ensure they protect our natural environment, manage growth carefully, and make basic services available to all.
  • We pledge to identify and train leaders whose web of relationships transcend economic, racial, gender, and religious divisions.

Through building relational power and engaging actively in democratic civic life, our institutions and leaders will transform our border region.  Our motivation comes from the teachings of our diverse faiths and from our fervent belief in liberty and justice for all.

  • Latest from the blog

    Pope Francis Receives EPISO/BI, SWIAF For Return Visit

    On Thursday, September 14, 2023 a delegation representing leaders and organizers from across our broad-based organizing network, the Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation, were invited for a return visit by Pope Francis to his home in the Vatican.  The Pope first met with our network last October, and last week, without missing a beat, he reiterated his understanding of our organizing as the conversation began. "Your work is atomic,” he said. “You go atom by atom, little by little, moving forward. Like water moves forward, which becomes a river, and soon pervades everything it touches.” He mentioned that on October 4, he will be issuing a companion to his encyclical Laudato Si, which will serve as an “examination of conscience” of our stewardship for the environment since the release of the original encyclical. He applauded efforts to reign in destructive corporate behavior and to promote efforts like Community Lighthouse pioneered by our sister organizations in Louisiana to protect our communities from the effects of climate change. Fr. Ivan Montelongo represented EPISO/Border Interfaith and the Catholic Diocese of El Paso. He shared with the Pope more about on our collaboration on the diocesan phase of the synod.  In 2022, EPISO/BI and the Diocese of El Paso worked together to train over 300 parishioners from 40+ institutions to carry out the synod, using the format of "house meetings," as a model for the church to listen closely to the experiences of individuals and families, particularly those excluded or on the margins. Fr. Ivan will return to Rome at the end of the month as a delegate to the global synod, a month-long process of prayer and discernment for the Church led by Pope Francis. In a recent podcast, Bishop Mark Seitz said the synod is not just another "project" that must be completed and we "get back to our life." "We can't just do things from the top down," said Seitz. "The Holy Spirit wants to make the whole people of God a priestly people, and that means that everyone is involved." In a video message Pope Francis prepared for leaders from our network in February, the pope said, "My heart rejoices when I see the pastors, priests and laity — leaders in their communities — together with civic organizations meet to discuss the best ways to overcome serious situations of injustice suffered by the excluded. I encourage and strongly urge you to continue to do so." ------ Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building Culture of Solidarity, US Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service 
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    EPISO/Border Interfaith Leads Outcry Against City of Socorro Project That Threatens to Demolish Local Homes

    [Excerpt]“Our community has heard from hundreds of residents who are opposed to this route, and many have just learned in the last few weeks that their homes may potentially be lost,” said Lorena Silvestre, a leader with EPISO/Border Interfaith and local resident. “Of the three routes proposed, this one clearly hurts the most people who are elderly, Spanish-speaking and on limited income. These are families that built their homes with their own hands. We do not accept the argument that this is the “best route” to alleviate traffic. This is just the route [City of Socorro] thinks people will not fight back. They are wrong.” [Photo Credit: Corrie Boudreaux, El Paso Matters] Socorro Road Plan Causes Fear, Confusion for Residents, El Paso Matters Socorro Residents Reject Displacement Amidst Texas Department of Transportation’s Arterial Project 1, El Paso Herald-Post [pdf] Socorro Residents Rally to Save Homes from Looming Infrastructure Project, KFox14 [pdf] Siembra Plan Vial Incertidumbre en Socorro, El Diaro de El Paso [pdf] Residentes en Socorro, Texas Temen Que Sus Hogares Sean Destruidos Para un Proyecto de Carretera, Univisión
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