Mexico Ministry

For a dozen years, All Saints’ has enjoyed a unique relationship with congregations in Mexico led by Padre Bayron Chanchavac. Parishioners have visited the churches where Padre Bayron has served as the priest, and he has visited All Saints’.

Why a Monarch Butterfly as the symbol of our relationship?

Monarch Butterfly

Most of us know the Monarch butterfly for its annual migration between central Mexico and the northern United States and Canada, which creates a tangible connection between us and our brothers and sisters in Mexico. But the Monarch has much deeper cultural significance. In Mexico, Monarchs are seen as symbols of the spirits of deceased loved ones returning to visit on the Day of the Dead. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection as the caterpillar “dies”, only to reemerge from its castoff chrysalis as a new being.

What is the Butterfly Effect?

According to Chaos theory, something as small as the fluttering wings of a Monarch butterfly can affect a much-wider world. The people of All Saints’, San Pablo and Santísima Trinidad working together can do the same. So, it seems that the Monarch butterfly is the perfect symbol for All Saints’ relationship with two small churches in Mexico.

From Chicago, USA to Xalapa, Mexico

Dave and Karen Howe first became involved with Mexico Outreach in the summer of 2008, when they traveled to Xalapa, Mexico, and met the people at Iglesia Santa Maria Virgen in the Diocese of Southeast Mexico (DSEM) and established a companion relationship with them. In the summer of 2011, they met Bayron Chanchavac who was named priest-in-charge at Santa Maria Virgen after years of decline.

Throughout the next six years, under Padre Bayron’s leadership, the church began to thrive with new projects and activities and dramatic growth in weekly attendance and participation. A number of All Saints’ people joined the Howes on their annual visits and were impressed and moved by what they saw and experienced.

In 2017, Bayron transferred to the Diocese of Cuernavaca, where he was assigned two churches. Since then, All Saints’ has seen the same enlightened leadership that Bayron had shown us in Xalapa. He has been working tirelessly to develop the potential of San Pablo in Cuernavaca, where he has transformed a moribund, basically closed church into a vibrant and outward-looking mission. Santísima Trinidad in the suburb of Acatlipa, has been for a variety of reasons a much greater challenge, but Padre Bayron continues his work to develop its potential.

Mexico Partnership

Partnership Reports

2020 Mexico Parish Partnership

With COVID-19, the churches closed, but Padre Bayron continued his pastoral work by offering Compline via Facebook every evening. In June, Bayron contracted the disease himself and was unable to do anything for more than a month. He has recently restarted his evening Compline and is offering the Eucharist on Sundays to limited gatherings in both churches.

Our upcoming Mexico Outreach celebration on October 18 will be a vehicle to raise $5000, mainly to supplement Padre Bayron’s salary so that he does not need to worry about the basic needs of his family and cover items such as the automobile expenses that he incurs serving his two churches. Beyond that, funds will be available help supplement the income of the two congregations since contributions have decreased drastically due to COVID-19 and to use as seed money to support new projects as they are developed by his congregations.

2020-Mexico-Report.pdf
2018 Mexico Parish Partnership

Our 2018 Mexican Fiesta is scheduled for 3:00-5:00 on Saturday, May 5. This year the focus will be on children and families, with a variety of activities from a piñata and crafts to cooking, games and learning a little Spanish.

We hope to be able to organize a group trip to Mexico sometime in 2018. Cuernavaca has a number of excellent language schools, and the Diocese of Cuernavaca has previously coordinated Spanish language classes for visitors from the USA.

2018 promises to be very exciting as our congregations get to know each other and begin to work together.

2017 Mexico Parish Partnership

There were a number of significant changes in our Mexico Outreach during 2017. After six years of serving the Anglican Church of Santa María in Xalapa, Veracruz, and in establishing a new mission congregation in Alchichica, Padre Bayron and his family moved to the Diocese of Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, where he is in charge of two congregations, San Pablo in the city of Cuernavaca, and Santísima Trinidad just on the outskirts of Cuernavaca. He has known Bishop Enrique Cruz there for some time.

After much discussion, thought and prayer with our Mexico Committee and with Bonnie, we decided to transfer our relationship from the Diocese of Southeast Mexico to the Diocese of Cuernavaca and Padre Bayron’s new congregations.

We raised $6000 at our Mexican Fiesta on May 20, which we used to help Padre Bayron with some of his relocation expenses and to help with the purchase of a much needed car to get him to his churches. We were also able to donate 30 Spanish language prayer books and several banners and other publicity materials.

Although both congregations were inactive when Padre Bayron arrived in Cuernavaca, San Pablo had at one time been active, and former parishioners, including many children, returned upon the arrival of a new, dynamic priest. The church has been painted, a children’s Christian education program established, and activities for adults including Christian education and prayer circles have been organized. The typical Sunday attendance at San Pablo is 50 – 60.

The situation at Santísima Trinidad has been more challenging. Three people came on Bayron’s first Sunday and weekly attendance is now about 15. Parts of the church have been painted, and a uniquely Mexican service was held on the day before Christmas, the blessing of people’s dolls as representative of the Christ Child. Bayron’s wife, Lupita, is now playing the guitar in both churches, and we anticipate exciting developments at both congregations as Padre Bayron becomes more established and develops a strong set of lay leaders.

Karen made an informal visit to Cuernavaca in November and the two of us spent about a week there at the beginning of March. Padre Bayron, his wife and son seem to be adjusting well to their new situation and are clearly enthusiastic about beginning this new ministry.