Born and raised in San Diego, John Fanestil has worked for decades at the intersection of the church, the academy, and movements for social justice. At First UMC San Diego he leads the congregation’s work in discipleship and leadership development for all ages.
Ordained in 1992, John has served as the pastor of United Methodist congregations in La Mesa, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Calexico, where he preached in both English and Spanish and fell in love with the peoples of the US-Mexico borderlands. Since November 2011, he has convened El Faro: The Border Church, a weekly gathering of people from both nations to celebrate the sacrament of communion at Friendship Park, the historic meeting place overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the border between San Diego and Tijuana.
John recently earned the Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California, where he specialized in early American history. He is also a graduate of La Jolla High School, Dartmouth College, Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and the Claremont School of Theology.