Mérida, Yucatán — Three months after the Anglican Church of Mexico expanded its reach into Yucatán, the regional bishop visited the San Lucas Mérida mission on Sunday.
A socially progressive group, St. Luke’s, as it is known in English, is popular with expat Christians who were worshiping previously at Las Monjas.
Church services at St. Luke’s are held on Sundays at 10 a.m. in English and at 11:15 in Spanish. Services are presided by Father José Vieira Arruda, who moved to Mérida from Montreal several years ago. After initially meeting at Casa Feliz in Santiago, the faithful now gather at Casa de los Torres in La Ermita.
As the congregation welcomed an official visit from Bishop Benito Juárez Martínez, of the Anglican Church Diocese of Southeast Mexico, they were joined by John Hayes, vicar of St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church in Cancun.
Explaining to readers
The gathering was covered in Diario de Yucatán, where Father Vieira explained to its predominately Roman Catholic readers that the Anglican Church is not a cult, but in brotherhood with Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians.
“We are a Catholic church because we follow the Catholic tradition in our worship we have inherited from the days of our Apostolic Fathers and because our church is universal and inclusive, which proclaims all faith to all peoples, to the end of time,” the Anglican Church of Mexico website explains.
In Mérida, St. Luke’s opened at Passover celebration thanks to the bishop, who accepted them with joy, enthusiasm and generosity, Vieira said.
Vicar Hayes recalled that the church began to have a presence in Yucatán back in 2000, when parishioners came to Cancun, and then to Progreso in 2003, but the church closed as membership dwindled.
Worship services are open to the public, regardless of social class, race or sexual orientation. Nationally, church officials have supported female bishops and gay clergy.
The Anglican Church is rooted in Britain. The Anglican Church of Mexico is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, England.
In Mexico, membership is at around 100,000, much smaller than Roman Catholic membership, which even in decline is counted at 98 million faithful.
The arrival of the Anglican Church in Mexico dates back to the mid-19th century when British and American citizens had come to work in the mining and railroad industry. The first services were held in Mexico City in 1869.
“It is important to note that our church did not come to Mexico to fight the Roman Catholic Church, not to proselytize among its members; but to serve their own parishioners who were totally isolated and deprived of all pastoral and sacramental ministration,” explains the Anglican Church of Mexico website.
Like St. Luke’s Facebook page to follow their journey.
With information from Diario de Yucatán.
This story was updated Nov. 26, 2016, to reflect a new worship location.