In 1987 a handful of liberal expats, seeking fellowship as well as mental and spiritual stimulation, took their first tentative steps in the direction of regular organized meetings. Early Sunday programs presented by members were varied, and activities included Wednesday Comida, a discussion group, a film club, Circle Cenas, and a lending library.
Early in 1994, the burgeoning UUF assemblage moved into a meeting room on the first floor of the Posada de la Aldea and shared brunch upstairs in the restaurant after Sunday service.
During the following five years, the first officers were elected, a fund was set up to purchase the Bosendorfer piano that is still used today, and Sunday service music was provided by a roster of UUF members.
The Rev. Farley Wheelwright began his long involvement with the Fellowship during this time as a volunteer presenter delivering many Sunday messages over the years. From the beginning, members sought ways to help the community of San Miguel, and in 1999 the Social Action group was formally initiated. The first beneficiary was the San Miguel AIDS group.
From 2000 to 2020, growth and change continued. Organizationally, our committee structure expanded in number and participation. We obtained nonprofit status, clarified and consolidated policies and developed better record-keeping procedures. We began pledging and budgeting and set up guidelines for grants, vetting and monitoring grantees. We utilized at least 50% of our income to fund grants to the community.
Socially, we initiated coffee hour after Sunday service, Circle Cenas, Neighborhood groups and a US Thanksgiving get-together, as well as continuing our Wednesday lunches and Saturday breakfasts.
We expanded group sites, community publicity, updated our website, and added a weekly online newsletter. We developed and adopted a new covenant and eventually added a Spanish version.
We also employed two administrative assistants, began inviting and paying more non-member local musicians to play at our services, and started inviting guest ministers for at least half of the services during the year.
In January 2019, we engaged our first part time minister, Rev. Tom Rosiello and began a children’s program with a professional curriculum and teachers. In March 2020, Sunday services were adapted to become professionally conducted Zoom services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last but not least, we formalized Endowment Giving.