Sonya and I have been in San Miguel for 2 days and there is a lot to write about here. This hotel's wireless has been down until now so I'm playing catchup. I want to tell you about an important experience--worshiping with the Free Church Unitarian in Mexico City on Saturday evening.
This congregation is made up entirely of native Mexican and the worship is in Spanish. They meet on Saturday evenings at the Quaker meeting house. The energy behind this congregation is that of Francisco Luganes Gaitan. The group, eight of us all together, gathered around a table and lit a chalice and Candles of Joys and Concerns. The liturgical elements were made up of translations of what we use in US UU worship and some carefully chosen Mexican sources. As good as the translations were, and as elementary as my Spanish is, I noticed that the Mexican elements had a lot more feelings, and heart. They inspired me. There were Calls To Worship, Responsive Readings, songs accompanied by music on a laptop, including Spirit Of Life in Spanish, and a sermon by Fransciso about what Unitarianism means to Mexicans. We all took turns reading the elements of the service. I understood maybe 60-70%. The gist of the sermon, if I did comprehend it, is that Mexicans have a very different history and culture. Brititsh and US Unitarianism developed as a reaction to Calvinism in the midst of a Calvinist culture. There are very few Calvanists in Mexico and Mexican Unitarianism finds itself interacting with and and reacting to a very Catholic culture. And yet Francisco feels the the universal and essential message of Unitarianism can have great appeal to Mexicans and it is their job to articulate it.
I loved especially the two readings by Rosario Castellanos, poet, playwright, and, I understand, Mexico's first Feminist. They are the poems Awarenss and Meditation At A Threshold. I wanted to quote the ending to the first poem, but could not find a good English translation on the internet.
There are about 20 regular attenders, but all don't attend at once. In addition a philosophy PhD student Juan Reyes, is the Adult RE Director and other individuals are attracted to the courses he puts together. In addition, Francisco, offers an adapted version of the UUA Adult Sexuality course, Our Whole Lives, in various prisons in the Mexico City area. The link to the web site, if you read Spanish, is www.unitarian.info
There is a UU congregation here in San Miguel de Allende as well, but it is made up of North American ex-patriots. We plan on attending services there on Sunday and we'll let you know about that.
I am so grateful to the First Church congregation for the opportunity to take this sabbatical time here in Mexico. It has enriched and expanded my world and, I believe, will help me minister more effectively in an increasingly multi-cultural San Diego.
Posted on Tue, November 16, 2010
by Arvid filed under