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Anglican Church in North America Solidifies Footing in Mexico

Anglican Church in North America Solidifies Footing in Mexico

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
February 27, 2020

Four years ago, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) began a work to bring the gospel to Mexico, a country that is predominantly 92% Roman Catholic.

The ACNA started with one congregation in Fresnillo, the second largest city in Zacatecas state in north central Mexico. The church had an average Sunday attendance of 200 plus and two house groups in Aguascalientes with an ASA of 15 and Guadalajara also with an ASA of 15, Bishop Mark Zimmerman, ACNA Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest, told VOL.

The bishop brings a wealth of knowledge to the job. Bishop Zimmerman spent fifteen years serving in Somerset, PA, first as rector of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church, and then most recently as rector of Somerset Anglican Fellowship, where he started a Spanish speaking congregation. In 2014, he and his wife Cindy, moved to Albuquerque, NM to begin their new ministry. It was a jumping off point for the huge sprawling nation of Mexico that lay at his feet.

Then things began to happen that could only be attributed to God's prevenient grace. Today there are nine ACNA parishes in Mexico.

"We developed a relationship with the Seminario of All Nations in Juarez. Their academic dean was ordained to the ACNA. His love of Anglicanism spilled over to his graduates. In March I will lay hands on two graduates in Juarez into the ACNA. They have already planted churches. One has an ASA of 100+ another one has an ASA of 30+. The larger congregation is already talking about planting another church. Several students currently being educated at the Seminario have expressed a desire to plant ACNA churches. Two more congregations in Juarez are looking to join us."

Feeling excited? You should, says Zimmerman, the ACNA's point man for Mexico.

"A largely ex-patriot community in Puerto Vallarta has already joined us with an ASA of 60-70. This past week we ordained a Mexican in that congregation to the diaconate. As we look to the future, we hope to have him plant a Mexican congregation there.

"Last week we met with a pastor and two young men seeking to bring their congregation into the ACNA in Jalapa (aka Xalapa) the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. They are already using our liturgy. The young men want to become lay pastors and the pastor is eager to serve as an Anglican priest. The congregation has voted unanimously to join the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest."

A lot of good things are happening in Puebla, a city in east-central Mexico, southeast of Mexico City. It's known for its culinary history, colonial architecture, pottery and tourism, said Zimmermann.

"We have been meeting with a missionary who is passionate about the ACNA. He is raising up disciples that share that passion. We have encouraged him to plant a church in Puebla that can be a mission center for that area that will allow these young disciples to experience Anglican worship and life in a ministry setting.

"This should happen soon. We have been working with a large non-denominational church in Puebla and in the short-term we plan to have a Pastors' Institute to train pastors throughout Puebla in Biblical theology and practical ministry. The future looks promising as we plan to have a crusade in Puebla for youth, exposing them to solid theology, joyful Anglican worship and evangelists who will bring the gospel to their people.

Bishop Zimmerman describes mission in Mexico as a work in progress.

"I have clearly sensed a movement of the Holy Spirit in Mexico that is hungry for what the ACNA has to offer. The Lord has opened a door of opportunity to develop a healthy, Biblical Anglican Church in Mexico."

END

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