Guatemala Companions

St. Martin’s Companion Parish Relationship with the Churches of:
San Marcos, Quetzeltenango
San Martin Obispo, Totonicopan
San Juan Apostol, Chichicastenango

PROGRAM: Established by St. Martin‐in‐the‐Fields in 1997 with 3 Guatemalan churches.
PURPOSE: To provide companionship, exchange of spiritual and material resources.
MISSION TRIPS: Since 1997, 51 St. Martin’s adult and teenage parishioners have visited our 3 Companion Parishes in Guatemala.

2019 Scholarship Call

Please pledge by July 30

St. Martin’s Companion Parish Committee is beginning the campaign for the 22nd year of the scholarship program to help Guatemalan school children to attend school. We are accepting your pledges or donations for full scholarships of $550 and partial scholarships in any increment of $25 for school year 2020.

Padre Heber Ruiz at our companion parish, San Juan Apostol in Chichicastenango, notes that the children receiving scholarships develop an increased sense of responsibility and are strongly motivated by the possibility of a better life. These children would not be able to go to school without your help. There is no free education in Guatemala and many families simply do not have the resources to pay for school fees, books, supplies and lunches. So we ask for your support to help the families of San Juan Apostol to enable their children to have an education and that bridge to a better future.

Companion Parish Committee members will circulate during hospitality with clipboards for signing up and will also have clipboards to sign up available in the Parish House lobby. Please make your pledge by July 30, with payment due by September 30.

Guatemala Companions Annual Report


Click here for the full report with photos (PDF)
2018 marked the 22nd year of the companion relationship between St. Martin’s and three parishes in the western highlands of Guatemala: San Marcos in Quetzaltenango (Xela), San Martin, Obispo de Tours, in Totonicapan and San Juan Apostol in Chichicastenango. The activities for the year included continued support for programs devised by our companion parishes to promote human, economic and/or community development, a visit of a group from St. Martin’s to Guatemala, and the hosting of an Epiphany party for our congregation on Three Kings’ Day. It should be noted that 57 different St. Martin’s parishioners have gone to Guatemala over the years.


Click here for the full report (PDF)

In 2017 St. Martin’s entered its 21st year of companion relationship with three parishes in the western highlands of Guatemala: San Marcos in Quetzaltenango, San Martin, Obispo de Tours in Totonicapan, and San Juan Apostol in Chichicastenango. Our activities both in Guatemala and here at St. Martin’s have focused on expressing our continued support for programs devised by our companion parishes to promote human, economic, and/or community development. From June 28 to July 10, 2017, a group of five traveled to Guatemala, visiting each of our companion parishes and joining in a communion service in each location. We were able to see several parish programs in action at San Marcos and to talk with scholarship students and their families in Chichicastenango. In September, we were pleased to host a visit by the Rev. Silvestre Romero, the newly elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Guatemala, at a dinner at St. Martin’s.

As our visit made clear, our companion parishes understand and serve the needs of those in their parishes, putting the $7,000 from St. Martin’s to use in several life-affirming ways.

    • They have established a cooperative where training sessions guide 15 Mayan women to improve their production of chocolate and its marketing through different companies, enabling these women to support their families and experience a sense of liberation and empowerment.
    • Through an Intercultural Education program, San Marcos has offered free internet service, cable, printing, and photocopies to students of the community, giving priority to members of the LGBTIQ community; their future plans include reaching out to other organizations to develop new work opportunities, including microenterprises.
    • With another program, San Marcos trains lay leadership through workshops on crisis intervention, pastoral care for the sick, and pastoral accompaniment of vulnerable populations. Other programs support health ministry efforts, training of volunteer health workers to treat simple medical problems, provide prenatal care and maintain the ceramic water filters essential to a clean water supply. In addition, 1,235 children were provided primary care.
    • People with HIV/AIDS now have the opportunity to join a self-help group, while 30 women prison inmates can attend chapel and receive spiritual counseling, medical services, basic education, and practical skills needed for future employment.
  • Members of St. Martin’s have shown they understand the critical importance of the education of children of our companion parishes, donating over $12,000 to support the scholarship program at San Juan Apostol, Chichicastenango, which enabled 21 children to go to school in 2017. The scholarship committee at San Juan continues its effort to include more girls in the program in order to move away from the traditional limitations on the role of women. In addition, by using funds from our budget and an education bequest fund, we provide school expenses for 20 children in San Martin, Obispo de Tours, Totonicapan.

    All of these developments support the thoughts expressed last October by John Howe, Terry Clattenburg, and Kisean Jones in their parish forum presentation on Guatemala. Their impressions of the trip affirm their sense of the strong, mutual relationship between our three companion parishes and St. Martin’s.

    Further details and additional photos are available by clicking here.

    Trip to Guatemala

    June 21 - July 3, 2018

    Six members of St. Martin’s are in Guatemala visiting with our three companion parishes and other organizations. Please keep the following people in your prayers:
    Anita Clattenburg             Kisean Edward Jones
    Terry Clattenburg                   Helena Sanders
    John Howe                 The Rev. Anne Thatcher

    $8,000 in Scholarships Sent to San Juan Apostol

    Notice: January 2, 2018

    The Companion Parish Committee thanks all who supported this year’s campaign for scholarships for the children of our companion parish San Juan Apostol for school year 2018, starting this month. $8,000.00 has been sent to Guatemala to enable these children to attend school, and Bishop Armando Guerra has expressed his profound thanks to the members of the congregation of St. Martin’s for their generous support of these children. The Committee plans to send an additional amount within a few weeks when all outstanding pledges have been paid.

    Guatemalan Crafts Sale

    The Guatemalan crafts sale, that opportunity to find those special gifts, will be held on St. Martin’s Day, Sunday, in mid-November every year. An array of beautiful, handcrafted textiles, ceramics, wood figures, jewelry and other items will be on display and available for purchase. All proceeds from the sale benefit our companion parish relationship with the parishes of San Marcos (Quetzaltenango), San Juan Apostol (Chichicastenango) and San Martin, Obispo (Totonicapan). The sale will take place in the Houston Room all morning long.

    Meet two of our Scholarship Recipients!

    Maria Suy

    Maria Suy is the younger sister of Victor Suy, who graduated as a bilingual teacher in 2011. Maria and Victor are orphans, who live with two aunts in the small community of Sacbichol. Maria, like Victor, lives in a one-room small rectangular adobe building. There is electricity inside so that she has light to do her homework in the evenings.

    Maria is in the 3rd year of basico (9th grade). The class is fairly evenly split between girls and boys, a big change from even recent years when girls were discouraged from attending school beyond primary. There is no public school in Sacbichol; the local school is a cooperative – each student pays a fee (“colegiatura”) of 65 Quetzales (about $8.55) per month and the teachers are paid from this fund. There is no way that Maria’s aunts could pay the expenses of education, and she expresses her strong gratitude to St. Martin’s for enabling her to get an education.

    Esdras Quino Chonay and family

    Esdras Quino Chonay lives with his mother and sisters and nephew in a house on the side of a valley off the main road that exits Chichicastenango. Esdras is in his second year of diversificado (11th grade) and is studying business administration. Classes are from 1 to 6 p.m., and he must commute from Chichi to Quiche, about a 45 to 60 minute trip each way. Because business administration involves training in accounting, management of human resources, management of material resources and some psychology, Esdras believes that more job opportunities will be open to him when he graduates. Applying his business training to his hometown, he observed that because the famous Sunday crafts market in Chichi now faces competition from other tourist attractions throughout Guatemala, fewer tourists now attend the market. Therefore, more merchants are catering to local needs.

    He expressed his thanks to St. Martin’s for the scholarship support that he has received over the last five years. Without that support, he would not have been able to go to school.

    Companions Visits


    St. Martin’s parishioners and Bishop Carlos Lainfiesta with the families of the Rev. Pascuala Ventura and Gaspar Tiniguar Perez – 2012

    The Gutierrez family in Totonicapan welcomed St. Martin’s parishioners to lunch – 2009

    Preparing a meal to share in Pachoc, a community above Totonicapan - 2012

    Here in Philadelphia we have hosted the rectors of each of the Guatemalan churches and a few of their parishioners to build solid institutional relationships through personal contact, worship, and fellowship.

    Padre Dr. Roberto Armas at St. Martin’s - 2006

    Padre Heber Ruiz and his daughter, Orfa, visiting with St. Martin’s parishioners – 2007

    Bishop Carlos Lainfiesta and Rev. Edna Lainfiesta visiting in 2009

    Regular Sunday Schedule

    8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
    9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
    9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
    10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

    Other Days

    Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

    Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

    Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

    Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

    Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

    We would love to have you join us.


    This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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