Community Development

El Calvario United Methodist Church – Immigrant Advocacy Center is conveniently located at the intersection of the Las Cruces Downtown Arts and Cultural District and the Mesquite Historic District. The Economic Development and Culture Programming Department focuses on developing economic opportunities for entrepreneurs through the incubation kitchen by providing support and the infrastructure needed to get their business started. This department is also committed to providing culturally inclusive community programming and engaging with issues such as affordable housing, support for local artists, food deserts, public history, legal services, and contributing to the creative economy. Food is a central part of culture, and the commercialization of food has sustained families and communities over centuries. Our incubation kitchen continues that legacy of allowing local small business entrepreneurs to continue finding creative and delicious ways to contribute to the creative economy through their connection to food. The incubator kitchen is also affordable, creating access to a commercial space that eliminates the costly overhead barrier that prevents many small businesses from starting and/or growing.

Woman cooking rice in a kitchen
People watching dancers

Cultural programming such as the Agape Mercado highlights our connection to the Downtown Arts and Cultural District corridor.

We host cultural events that uplift both visual and performance artists by providing a consistent space for them to feature their art. The Agape Mercado provides gently used clothing, toiletries, a complimentary meal to the surrounding community. This is one of the ways we celebrate culture and preserve the integrity of the historic district to add to the quality of life of neighborhood residents

The El Calvario Agape Mercado is a monthly community event where we give away a free dinner, toiletries and used clothing for those in need. For those who are not in need, you are still welcome to come and listen to music, have some food and support our vendors. This event is for anyone in our community and collaborates with local artists and performers.

This particular Agape Mercado had a Día de los Muertos theme, along with five altars dedicated to those who have passed away. Altars contributed by NM CafeACLU honored the lives lost from Covid-19, lives lost from police custody and crossing the border, as well as an altar in Nawa tradition honoring the passing of children. El Calvario also provided a community altar, where volunteers, staff and particpants contributed items to honor departed members of families, the community and more.

The El Calvario Agape Mercado is held on the first Friday of every month from 5:00-8:00 PM. El Calvario would like to welcome anyone interested in volunteering, as extra help is always needed and appreciated, visit to learn more or explore volunteer opportunities and ways to contribute or participate. We also invite you to follow our social media and Twitter for news and events. 

La Semilla and El Calvario have joined together to host evening classes aimed at educating the community on home gardening techniques to promote local and sustainable food systems. The classes, which take place at the Jardin Del Paz at El Calvario church, allow participants to get hands-on experience with everything from preparing and regenerating soil to harvesting. Based in the traditions and food stories of our ancestors, topics include nutrition, cooking, herbal remedies, backyard and container gardening. All cultivation techniques and methods taught are aimed towards beginners but filled with plenty of information that even more experienced gardeners can learn from. This event is free for participants, and those that show up to all the classes are eligible to receive a garden and cooking kit! Classes take place in the evenings, on a weekly basis, throughout different periods of the year. A proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for the safety of participants and staff.

For more information on upcoming classes and on La Semilla’s Community Education Program and El Calvario’s Jardin Del Paz, visit
We also invite you to follow our social media and Twitter for news and events.

The Community Development Department assists with legal services, accessing information about legal services, and connecting with services providers via our partnership with Justice for Our Neighborhoods (JFON). For more information, please see El Calvario’s Legal Services Strategic Plan.

Finally, this department is also El Calvario’s central hub for community outreach. Our department creates content to seek donations, manages social media, and promotes cultural events.

To stay connected and support our programs, please follow us on social media!

People serving food outdoors