By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
While most Mexicans were glued to their seats watching the unprecedented swearing-in ceremony of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Saturday, Dec. 1, members and friends of Christ Church Anglican Parish were busy getting a head start on their holiday shopping at the chapel’s annual Christmas bazaar in Mexico City’s upscale Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec.
The bazaar, which has been held every December for more than 150 years, constitutes one of Christ Church’s major fundraisers, bringing in about 200,000 pesos a year to be used to sponsor outreach programs such as support for the government-run Hospital General, helping children with cancer and providing meals for disadvantaged Mexicans in the capital’s Centro Histórico Comedor Melones.
“There are a lot of underprivileged Mexicans who depend on Christ Church for even their most basic needs, and we depend on this bazaar and our three annual garage sales (usually held in March, June and October) to help pay for that assistance,” explained Christ Church Parish Guild president Linda Saucedo, as she jetted back and force between the raffle ticket stand and a table selling a variety of donated antiques.
“The only other real source of income we have here is donations.”
The bazaar this year was somewhat larger than in the past, with 40 stands selling everything from handcrafted jewelry and clothing to holiday poppers and homemade jams.
There was also an entire room dedicated to selling used books in both English and Spanish.
New this year was the sale of freshly shucked oysters and tasty antojitos mexicanos (Mexican snacks).
As always, there were homemade sandwiches, salads and cakes, and a raffle that included an original painting by renowned American-Mexican artist Kathleen Clement as the main prize.
Throughout the day, the very talented Saint Patrick’s Battalion Pipe and Drum Band offered live bagpipe performances.
“This annual bazaar is a wonderful event because it has been a part of this community for more than a century and because it is a chance for our parish’s members to get together one last time before going away on their Christmas holidays and to help out those less fortunate than ourselves by purchasing gifts,” said Christ Church Parish Reverend Matthew Seddon, who just arrived in Mexico last October.
“I am truly impressed by the sense of community there is in our parish.”
“We spend the entire year preparing for this day,” said Saucedo.
“No sooner do we get done with one year’s bazaar, then we start knitting, sewing, organizing and doing whatever it takes to get ready for the next one.”
Because the homemade jams and jellies are one of the bazaar’s biggest highlights, she said, the parish’s members beginning collecting and preparing seasonal fruits in January and continue throughout the year, depending on what produce is available at the time.
“This bazaar is definitely a labor of love and giving,” she said.
“I think that it is a reflection of all the good work that Christ Church Parish does throughout the year.”
Christ Church in Mexico traces its beginnings back to 1871, when English-language services were first conducted on a regular weekly basis at various locations throughout the capital city.
Finally, in 1895, the first cornerstone of a neo-gothic style church was laid at Artículo 123 in downtown Mexico City, and the structure was opened for regular public worship on Pentecost Day three years later.
But years of aging and the devastating effects of the Sept. 19, 1985, earthquake finally forced the congregation to move to its current location in Lomas de Chapultepec.