Sunday, june 16 - Saturday, August 10, 2019

San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and home to the largest land border-crossing in the world.  With beaches and mountains in close proximity, and the best weather you’ll find anywhere, San Diego offers adventures for everyone!  Our interns will be housed at First United Methodist Church in central San Diego.  You’re only a quick ride to downtown, the beach, and beautiful Balboa Park with the world-famous San Diego Zoo. 


The San Diego site will focus on what ministry looks like in a bi-national city.  Learn about immigration and border issues and how God is working across barriers to help us create amazing ministry opportunities.  The first week will focus on getting to know the diverse cultures that make San Diego special.  Interns will get to participate in El Faro/Border Church (either on the US or Mexican), a one-of-a-kind church that meets at the border wall every Sunday and celebrates worship and communion “through the fence.”  You’ll learn about the issues facing deportees in Tijuana and meet families who create lives together in spite of the physical barriers.  You’ll also have the opportunity to work with Border Angels, a group that brings water to immigrants crossing the border and to travel along with Border Patrol for a tour between the fence and the wall.  

For the remainder of the summer, our QuadW Interns will work in many of the following locations: 

  • Camp Cedar Glen:  a United Methodist Elementary Camp in the mountain town of Julian 

  • Christ Ministry Center: a church that refused to close its doors when membership declined and opened up its building to a variety of community organizations that live out the gospel of Matthew 25 (I was hungry and you fed me…).  CMC is now home to the only Safe Harbors refugee site in San Diego and regularly houses over 100 refugees and asylum seekers daily.   

  • Cherokee Point Elementary School:  a Title 1 school that FUMCSD has partnered with to support the education of this low-income multicultural community. 

  • Vacation Bible School at various churches 

 In addition to all of the opportunities to engage in multi-cultural ministry, our interns will learn the practice of engaging with others through The Way of Radical Compassion.  These weekly lessons teach Jesus’ three-fold path of loving God, self, and others and will give you the tools to use ‘The Compassion Practice’ in your own life.  Through guided meditation and prayer, The Compassion Practice will ground you in God’s love, help you cultivate self-compassion and compassion for others, and enable you to discern compassionate action.   

We look forward to partnering with you in ministry and helping you continue to grow in your faith and discipleship through the worship, devotion, justice and compassion you will experience in San Diego!

Site Director - Rev. Melissa Spence -


Melissa serves as the Pastor of Justice and Compassion at First United Methodist Church of San Diego. She oversees all of the local and global mission ministries and all of the congregational care ministries. She discerned a calling to a ministry of compassion when she became a Stephen Minister during her sophomore year in college, but it was many years later that she felt called to ordained ministry as a Deacon.  As a child of the Air Force and a wife of the Navy, she has lived and traveled all over the world, experiencing many different cultures and religions.  She and her husband Dennis have two daughters, Mackenzie (19) and Kaitlyn (17), two dogs, two cats, and two chickens (they're thinking of building an ark but it rarely rains in San Diego).  She's lived in San Diego for a little over 10 years, but considers Austin, TX home and will eventually move back when Dennis retires from the Navy.  Melissa received a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, and a Master of Social Work from San Diego State University.  In her free time she loves to read, bake, and spend time outdoors.  She's also an avid traveler and loves exploring new places.