Parish Ministry in Mexico

The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, Texas is one church in 3 locations.

We have been working with the Lake Chapala UU fellowship in Mexico that is contracting with us to bring half-time ministry to the congregation.

If, after reading this page, you’re interested in learning more about the opportunity, to set up a time to have a phone conversation.

If you’re the successful candidate, you’d work for First UU of Houston, under the direction of the senior minister and be paid & taxed in the U.S. You would spend the first two weeks of August 2017 with us in Houston, learning how our multi-minister staff team works. You can read an older post about our Creative Team process here.

You would then travel to Ajijic, Mexico (near Lake Chapala) and spend about 6 months with the fellowship, go home for a couple of weeks, then return to the fellowship until mid-June. You would be free from mid-June through mid-August. You’d spend two weeks with us in Houston, then back to the fellowship. This is a year to year position, but if it’s a good fit, it will be an open ended ministry.

The Lake Chapala UU Fellowship is just down the road from Chapala, Mexico, about a 45 drive south of Guadalajara, Mexico’s 2nd largest city.

Here’s more about the opportunity from the board president of the fellowship (and there’s a slideshow of their History & Vision workshop from a few years ago further down the page):

The Lake Chapala Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (LCUUF) is a small, vibrant, liberal religious community on the shores of Lake Chapala in Mexico. The congregational website is here.

The congregation consists primarily of English-speaking retirees who represent a variety of beliefs, religious backgrounds, nationalities and professional experience. Many of the members might be described as humanist in outlook. The official membership is approximately 80, with a regular attendance of about 30 people in the summer and about 60 in the winter, when “snow-bird” members return. Sunday services have been held since 2006, currently in rental accommodation shared with a performing arts group.

Congregational goals include providing opportunities for social interaction and intellectual exploration, pastoral care for an older population, outreach to the Spanish-speaking community and the recruitment of new members. Financial support to a Women’s Health project is ongoing.  These activities reflect the intention of the congregation as articulated in its Bylaws: “…to organize as a religious community which gives encouragement and support to one another and to the larger community in which we live.”

The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the official activities of the congregation and is supported by the work of various committees. The annual budget has been about $10,000 but is expected to double this year with a newly instituted pledging system aimed expressly at securing a part-time minister.

The congregation is proud of what it has achieved over the past 11 years: good services, pastoral care, community outreach, and a collegial understanding of priorities. A recent poll confirms a unanimous belief that a professional minister, supported by a very experienced ministerial team in Houstoncould greatly accelerate development in the following areas:

  • Sunday services, adult religious education, and developing community connections;

  • Assisting and strengthening our committees;

  • Bringing new energy, ideas, and experience.

Below is a slideshow of worksheets from a History & Vision workshop Rev. O’Connell did in 2014.