St. Luke’s transforms a restaurant into its permanent worship space

Fr. José V. Arruda stands in a former restaurant that is about to become the new home of St. Luke's Episcopal Mission. Photo: Courtesy
An old restaurant is brightened for its transformation into St Luke’s Episcopal Mission. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — A nondescript corner restaurant in Santiago is a little more special these days, and it isn’t just from the bright coat of paint that was just applied to its facade.

Fr. Jose V. Arruda, who leads the St. Luke’s Episcopal Mission, announced the move, just in time for Pentecost.

The handmade baptismal font, carved in solid stone by local artists, is set in place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Mission. Photo: Courtesy

“”The Bishop’s Committee — the lay Executive Council — and I felt the need to find a fixed and large enough space for our congregation,” says Arruda in a letter to his congregation. “And, you all know how the Spirit of God works!”

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An out-of-business restaurant on Calle 76 and Calle 55, in the Santiago neighborhood, is their new home.

St. Luke's construction

St. Luke’s worship space comes into shape in a new Santiago location. Photo: Courtesy

“There we found a large enough restaurant area, with two rooms in the back and an outdoor space for a patio,” says Arruda.  “Obviously, we had to renovate and make the place appropriate for our congregation.  Because our budget is what it is – not much! – we stuck to the basics and hopefully the community here present and elsewhere will help us to make our church building even more beautiful and dignified – for God and for all of God’s people.”

The front room, presumably the former dining room — will be the worship space, as well as a meeting room, a place for concerts and community meals. It can easily accommodate up to 75 people, Arruda said.

“It is enough for us, here at St. Luke’s, since one of our goals is never to become so large that we lose the sense of community, the sense of communion that a true and authentic community requires.”

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This Sunday, which is Pentecost Sunday, St. Luke’s will celebrate an 11 a.m. service with bilingual Eucharist followed by a community meal.

“Indeed, we must give thanks to God!” says Arruda, who, together with a group of expats and a Mexican national led the movement to bring an inclusive mission of the Mexican Anglican Church Mérida. “Indeed, we must share our gifts with each other, especially the gifts of joy and laughter, of faith and promise – the promise that we will continue our journey as God’s children, disciples of the Lord Jesus, with open hearts and open arms, celebrating and serving with love and compassion. Jesus’ movement is also present here in Mérida. And, Lord, we are moving! Moving indeed!”

Previously: St. Luke’s celebrates a year of English worship

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