UUFSMA Newsletter November 12, 2018

The Mission of this Fellowship is to serve the spirit as each individual understands it; to serve the educational and pastoral needs of our own community; and to serve our multicultural community through actions that further social justice.

Tom Rosiello Joins the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende as Affiliate Minister

Following an 18-month search process, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende (UUFSMA) is proud to announce the appointment of Reverend Tom Rosiello as the Fellowship’s first Affiliate Minister in its 31-year history beginning January 2019.


“We are pleased and honored to welcome Tom to our Fellowship,” said UUSFMA President John Simsarian.  “His wisdom, experience, and deep caring will help us advance our understanding and application of UU principles.”


Rev. Rosiello, Minister Emeritus of The First Parish of Stow and Acton in Massachusetts, is no stranger to the Fellowship.  For nearly a decade he has been a frequent guest minister during his annual vacations to San Miguel.  Last year he and his partner, Malcolm Halliday, retired and moved here full-time.


A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Suffolk University Law School, Tom has always been active in a variety of social justice causes, ranging from AIDS and gay rights to poverty and prison reform.  He has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Unitarian Universalists Urban Ministry, which serves a largely black community in Boston, and Partakers, an interfaith prison ministry that assists inmates with earning a college degree while incarcerated.


He also taught at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and helped train new ministers as part of Harvard Divinity School’s field education program.  Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for nearly 20 years as an attorney, primarily in the criminal justice system as an Assistant District Attorney and a criminal defense lawyer.


In his role at the UUFSMA, Tom will:  deliver 12 sermons throughout the year; recruit visiting ministers for some other Sunday services; provide guidance and training for the Care Team; deliver pastoral care for members as required in times of crisis and major life transitions; work closely with the Sunday Service Committee and the Care Team; represent the congregation at the annual UU General Assembly to promote the Fellowship and its vision.


The UU Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende meets Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM at the Hotel Posada de la Aldea and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.  For information about our Children’s Sunday Program, contact us at chris.chase1955@gmail.com.  Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for hospitality and discussion afterwards.  Wheelchair accessible.  For additional information, visit the web site at uufsma.org.

Caminamos Juntos/We Walk Together Update

Since its official launch on 1 June 2018, Caminamos Juntos/We Walk Together has been busy. With the early grant of $5,000 from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel, Caminamos Juntos was able to catalyze an additional $33,000 through the UUA Southern Region’s Chalice Lighter crowd-sourcing and an additional grant from the Church World Service. These funds enabled Caminamos Juntos to quickly move from a necessary idea to a fully fledged organization. Here are just some of the highlights.

Organizational Development

  • With the early UUFSMA funding , En San Miguel Caminamos Juntos completed its legal requirements and is now a registered asociacion civil in Mexico. (But we are known as Caminamos Juntos.)
  • Walking Together is also a registered not-for-profit in Texas and the federal IRS 501(C)3 application is in process.
  • The Caminamos Juntos Board meets frequently to guide operations and make strategic decisions as we evolve.
  • Caminamos Juntos has mobilized hundreds of North American volunteers that bring technical skills as well as good will and action, and given the fluidity of our population, we always welcome new volunteers.
  • The Caminamos Juntos’ office is located directly across the street from Immigration. Our address in the real and virtual worlds are:

Services and Teams

  • Caminamos Juntos has five committees that structure our operations—1) Participant Services; 2) Volunteer Coordination; 3) Communication; 4) Resource Mobilization; and 5) Finance. Each committee has a reporting structure that is tied to a Master Plan so that we can track our activities and document our progress carefully.
  • Our four direct services task forces all report to the Participant Services Committee to ensure coordinated action. These task forces are –1) Housing, Food and Clothing; 2) Medical and Mental Health; 3) Legal; and 4) Employment. Each has planned activities to support Mexican nationals seeking to rebuild their lives in San Miguel.
  • A trained volunteer case manager is assigned to each participant to ensure that services are delivered when the participant most needs them. Each participant signs and commits to an Individual Action Plan and they have the responsibility of meeting with their case manager regularly.

Outreach and Education

We have quickly learned that the education and outreach efforts can connect us with people who are more likely to benefit most from the program. As such, we have focused on improving and expanding those education and outreach efforts. For example:

  • The Communication Committee has created and produced bilingual brochures and business cards; the designed and distributed a Spanish-only poster that has been posted widely throughout San Miguel; and created a map of affordable lodging, food and services.
  • On the digital side, we have created and then completely revised the CJ website ( www.cjsma.org); overhauled the CJ Facebook page (please Like us!); and are planning to add more digital content in the weeks and months to come.
  • On the broadcasting side, Program Director Sam Silva had an interview with the local radio station (XESQ) in August to which people responded immediately. Caminamos Juntos runs regular advertisements on that station, as it is the most reliable medium to communicate to San Miguelenses.
  • Also, one of our Board Members, Katarina Barron and her family, were featured in a PRI story about mixed-status families being deported. As a result, families with someone in detention or at risk are contacting her. To better respond to the higher number of families that are contacting Caminamos Juntos for possible support, we created a new role, Family Liaison, which Katarina holds.
  • Over the summer, monthly film nights featured documentaries and films about deportation and human migration with a Q&A time afterward with staff and volunteers of Caminamos Juntos. We plan to have more films and discussions in the autumn and winter.

Building Networks

Our networks continue to expand and deepen each week. Our rapidly expanding network includes partners from government, the private sector, academia, legal, civil society, and faith based groups in both Mexico and the United States. The June elections in Mexico brought about a wholesale change in the direction of federal and state government, which is creating opportunities to connect at the highest levels of government, while we reach down into the roots of San Miguel at the same time.

In August, the Program Director joined ABBA House director, Ignacio Ramirez, in meeting with three federal agencies, including top representatives from the Secretaria del Migrante e Enlace Internacional, a federal agency just created by the incoming Obrador administration.

At the state level, Caminamos Juntos has growing exchange with a variety of organizations that will help inform the pending research we intend to carry out as well as provide channels of information sharing to reach individuals who could benefit from our services. Among these are:

  • Instituto de Mujeres en la Migracion –They work with Mexico-based wives and mothers of people facing deportation in the US and can offer assistance on how to reach potential deported persons, how to determine the numbers of people, how to connect to families, and more. 
  • Casa de Migrantes (San Luis Potosi) – Part of the REDODEM network (see below).
  • REDODEM – An accredited shelter network of 22 shelters throughout Mexico. ABBA House is a member of REDODEM. Caminamos Juntos and ABBA House will be making a joint presentation to the REDODEM group.
  • Migrantes y Sus Familias de Leon – They cover Leon and five municipalities in the Bajio region.  They recently conducted a focus group on migration in the region and how it affects the economy of Guanajuato.  Their focus is on providing detailed information on people who are migrating.
  • APOYO – is a San Miguel based AC which has offered to introduce Caminamos Juntos to existing job-related programs which they incubate.

In the United States, Caminamos Juntos is also working to extend its networks and partnerships. For example, the Program Director and a Board member recently spoke to American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) to introduce Caminamos Juntos and identify areas of possible collaboration. The head of the legal task force has been in touch with Texas A&M University School of Law. The Law School is interviewing returnees as to their specific needs so as to develop best practices for organizations working with the returnees.  They have been in contact with our legal task force lead and they are very interested in Caminamos Juntos. In addition, Caminamos Juntos has been developing ties and communications with various legal defense organizations as well as sanctuary churches and cities to inform them of our presence and services.

Caminamos Juntos Service

Caminamos Juntos defines its service in four different categories. The first category is for the those individuals who have been deported and commit to joining our program services on a formal basis. As of the end of October, seven individuals now have a formal Individual Action Plan. In addition, we are in discussion with 16 families who are considering a move to San Miguel.

The second category of service is in consultations. Through the growing network, Caminamos Juntos engages in a range of serious conversations that provide information to those at risk of deportation and with the families of those people who have been arrested and put into detention centers. The consultation services provide critical information so that family members and those at risk of deportation can make informed decisions as the process unfolds as to their next best move.

The third area of service is in providing safe passage to individuals who are right at the point of deportation. In this area we work directly with peer organizations in the US and along the US-Mexico border to ensure that individuals who have just been deported can make their way safely to San Miguel and reduce their risk of predation by corrupt officials or narco-gangs that prey on disoriented, traumatized people. This is a new offer by Caminamos Juntos as we’ve realized that our support can and should begin earlier in the sequence of deportation events and not simply when people arrive into San Miguel.

The fourth area of service that Caminamos Juntos provides is in education and outreach that offers real-time and real-life information to the both sets of San Miguel – the foreigners and the native born. Providing information so that people can be educated about the entire ecosystem of deportation and human flows is critical to understand how each of us can mitigate the risks and trauma associated with this global phenomenon. These education initiatives also offer an opportunity to build bridges across the two halves of San Miguel’s community. To date, more than 400 people have joined our education and outreach events in San Miguel alone.

Our expectation is that the numbers will continue to rise as word and reputation spread.

Central American Caravan

Recently, Caminamos Juntos has been playing a leadership role together with a coalition of other organizations and individuals to help address some of the needs of the individuals in the Central American Caravan.  Approximately 80 volunteers have responded to provide food, water, clothing, shoes, blankets and immigration legal advice.

Final Note of Appreciation

Caminamos Juntos/We Walk Together is indebted to the UUFSMA for its early support and trust that the $5,000 grant represented. Also, the UUFSMA sponsorship, together with the UUA Southern Region, raised the necessary funding to launch Caminamos Juntos. We are proud of our progress to date, and will continue to serve and support Mexican nationals who have returned to this country under duress and who seek to build a new life for themselves and their families here in San Miguel. Gracias! Thank you!

Next Sunday seek out New Member Kimberly Fairbanks and give her a big UUF Welcome!

Care Team

If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe. If you wish to better  understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand. If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another. 
  - Dalai Lama 

Hello from your UUFSMA Care Team!

if anyone would like to visit those who are currently homebound, please reach out to a Care Team member listed below to learn who is ready to have visitors.

On November 7th your Care Team presented another program aimed at improving the health-related knowledge of our community.  “Building Your Quality of Life” by Bernice “BC” Marks, B.S. M.S.  was well attended and filled with valuable information about nutrition, stretching and easy movements, and advice on supplements.  Attendees felt that they learned a lot of valuable information.  More educational seminars/workshops will be announced and we hope you will take advantage of these offerings.

Upcoming Events:

Discussion on Death Preplanning Options, Tuesday November 13, at 9:00am at Sanmiguelessen restaurant, Stirling Dickson 28. Free - $100 pesos breakfast optional.
A Rotary Program: Presentation by the 24-Hour Association.  Founded 1965, it provides prearrangements services to the expat community.  The Association is a nonprofit, legally registered Mexican civil association that provides prepaid plan of cremation and burial services in full compliance with Mexican laws.

Be Well San Miguel and UNIMED hospital invites you to an informational presentation about Vumi Health Insurance on Wednesday, November 21 at 5pm at La Casona.

Vumi is converage tailored for the expatriate. Relatively new on the scene, it offers excellent packages at reasonable rates. Insurance agent Victor Ruiz will be presenting. 

Join us for wine and appetizers. The event is free. Please RSVP to deborah@BeWelSanMiguel.com 

Please let us know if you or someone you know needs help.  The Care Team is here for you!
Meanwhile, take Care!

Francoise: 415 149 3053
Lydia Jane: 415 149 3784  

For pastoral care please contact Rev. Wyman Rousseau at    emailforwyman@gmail.com
For a copy of the Medical Resource directory, contact either Lydia or Francoise.

Calendar of Activities

Tuesday Discussion Group, Novembr 13, 10:15 am, How did you get to be the person you are now? What has influenced you? Bring in a quote (or two) that made a difference in your life. Share how and when it made a difference. Join us for these meaningful discussions led by Liz Stone. The group will meet at the Quinta Loreto restaurant, Loreto 15.

Wednesday Lunch Bunch, November 14, 1:30pm,  OKO, Plaza la Alhondiga Local 1F, across from La Comer.

Women's breakfast group meets at Oso Azul, Zacateros 17 at 9:30 each Saturday morning. As the weather gets cooler, be sure to seek out the group in one of the inside spaces. All women are warmly invited. Men meet in the Jardin at 9:30am in front of the Parroquia and decide where to eat. The regular guys would like some new faces to join them!

Circle Cena - The Circle Cena is a social gathering for people who meet at a host's house once a month for either a pot luck of botanas and dessert or a full course dinner. The hosts coordinate the event as to how many guests they can accommodate and who brings what food to share. As the groups change from cena to cena, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know other UUs.

The next Circle Cena is Monday, December 3. Please sign up as host or guest at the Welcome Table after Sunday service or contact Arlena Lawrence,   lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.

Sunday, November 18, 10:30am  

Our Democracy?

Cliff DuRand

The United States has long prided itself on being “the world’s greatest democracy” -- a claim that has been called into question by many in recent years. Nevertheless, we hear it said that our democracy is under threat. At this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service, social philosopher Cliff DuRand asks whose democracy it is and what kind of democracy is it anyway? Is it government of, by, and for the people? Or is it only for business and the wealthy?

“With the mid-term election frenzy now over and the dust settling, we can step back and look more deeply at where the American project for popular sovereignty stands,” says Dr. DuRand. “The official doctrine is that democracy consists of multiparty free and fair elections by which voters decide who will rule over them. While that may legitimate a government, isn’t democracy much more than that? What does it take to ensure that the popular will is secured? Democracy takes social movements acting outside of and sometimes against the established political processes. Democracy is in the streets more than in the halls of Congress.”

A veteran of the protest politics of the 1960s, Dr. DuRand was a Professor at historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. His political baptism was in the civil rights movement, and he was also active in Central American solidarity in the 1980s. From these experiences he learned the power of social movements to change consciousness as well as to force political leaders to take into account popular cries for social justice. Beginning in the 1990s he organized annual educational trips to Cuba where he came to appreciate their efforts to build a socialist society. Coming to San Miguel 14 years ago, he was one of the founders of the Center for Global Justice. A popular speaker and author, he has published many articles and two books: Recreating Democracy in a Globalized State and Moving Beyond Capitalism.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. For information about our Children’s Sunday Program, contact us at chris.chase1955@gmail.com. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for hospitality and discussion afterwards. Wheelchair accessible. For additional information, visit our web site at uufsma.org.

Social Action

Migrant Relief Update November 2018


The ABBA House, founded in Nov 2014 by Pastor Ignacio Martinez Ramirez, is a safe house which offers immigrants from primarily the Northern Triangle of Central America a safe, clean place to stay for a maximum of three nights. These refugees are fleeing northward to escape political violence and extreme poverty. Also benefitting are Mexican nationals on their forced trek south from the US border to Guanajuato and other states in Mexico.


Central Americans with the Honduran caravan have begun arriving in the state of Guanajuato! And more migrants are arriving soon in additional caravans. How can we help? In addition to volunteering, we can donate funds to established organizations and GoFundMe sites up and running. Contact info is below:


GoFundMe Sites:

To give to ABBA House in Celaya for food, water and basic needs


organized by Trish Snyder


To buy shoes for those passing through ABBA House


organized by Stan Hall


To buy food and water to hand out to the caravan


organized by Andrea Usher


 Established Organizations:

Latin American Relief Fund   latinamericanrelieffund.org

To help pay for rent and utilities at ABBA House in Celaya

During the caravan crisis they need extra money to purchase food, blankets, diapers for babies, women’s sanitary items, etc. 

Sher Davidson davidsonsher@icloud.ocm 


Caminamos Juntos    www.cjsma.org

Providing humanitarian assistance to Mexican nationals deported from the US who want to live and work in SMA. Services include basic needs, legal, emotional, and employment… all shared in a spirit of dignity.

John Simsarian




The mission of the Refugee Relief Project - under the auspices of the Latin American Relief Fund - is to support ABBA House, a shelter in Celaya run by Pastor Ignacio Martínez Ramirez, which offers beds, food, showers, and medical and psychological counseling to those fleeing violence and poverty.  We pay the monthly rent and increased cost of utilities during this crisis of migrants coming from Central America.

latineamericanrelieffund.org. 501(c)(3) non-profit, donations are tax deductible in the US.

For more info: Sher Davidson at  davidsonsher@icloud.ocm or

Gary Davidson at  davidsongary9@gmail.com 

3rd Annual Holiday Craft Fair
Friday, November 16th
11am - 2pm at Umarán 107, Centro SMA

An Invitation to Join Us!
If you are in San Miguel during November please join us for EEE's  3rd Annual Holiday Craft Fair where many excellent items handcrafted by the students will be on display and available for sale at economical prices. The older students have been working diligently with instructors and volunteers to prepare themselves for future employment opportunities by first learning vocational skills and then creating attractive products to be marketed to the public. The sewing workshop has been creating beautiful girl's dresses, cross stitched pieces, cushions, and other wonderful Christmas themed items; while the wood working shop has been making excellent small puzzles, small household items, as well as attractive furniture including tables, benches, book shelves, artists easels and other smaller decorative pieces. The jewellery program has many new and exquisite imaginative very well priced silver jewelry items to show you. And they have been getting plenty of compliments on the finished products. Please come and offer encouragement to this great group of young people!  An admission donation of pesos $200 will go toward any purchase you make that day. There will be refreshments and goodies served. We would love to put a ticket(s) aside for you, just drop a line to John at  jd98lv@hotmail.com

Get your tickets to this year's US Thanksgiving Comida at the Welcome Table after Sunday's service. It will be at La Frontera, 1:30pm, Thursday, November 22. Tickets $450 pesos.
Join us on Sunday, December 9th for our Third Annual Holiday Bazaar!

It's time to let your creative light shine and take this opportunity to sell your crafts, art, books, etc. If you aren't 'creative' you might look through your closets and donate something for our White Elephant Table.

If you'd like a table at the Bazaar, there will be a sign up sheet at the service this Sunday, or contact co-chair Arlena Lawrence at  lawrencearlena@yahoo.com or call 154-8410.
Welcome Table

At the Welcome Table we have, for your reading pleasure, the Community Connections brochure. It is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about the UUFSMA - a bit of history, events, who we are and what we do. Pick one up next Sunday.

Altar Flowers

Flowers are a lovely way to remember or honor someone dear to you. If you wish to have the Sunday flowers dedicated to someone special, please contact Cynthia Sterling at sterlingsilver33@gmail.com.

Electronic Payments

We are set up for electronic funds transfers and electronic bill pay payments for your pledges and other donations. For instructions, please contact jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

And, now we have a link on our website for PayPal under the heading 'donations”.

To use PayPal or a credit card immediately, just click below!


The UUFSMA Newsletter is produced each week for members and friends of the congregation. Information should be submitted by Wednesday each week to denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Contact Us!

Board of Directors 2018-2019 (as of April 1, 2018)

John Simsarian, President, 154-4771, jcsimsarian@yahoo.com
Judith Rosenthal, 1st VP, 154-9659, judithr@mail.fresnostate.edu
Chris Chase, 2nd VP, 170-4544, Chris.Chase1955@gmail.com

Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, 152-8019, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com
William Dalsimer, Secretary, 917-991-7841, wrdalsimer@gmail.com
Eleanor Goodwin, 152-5700, epgoodwin@hotmail.com
Jim Harper, 152-2380, smaharper@yahoo.com
Paula Peace, 102-1072, paulapeace@bellsouth.net 
Peter Podesta, 101-0904, parlino27@gmail.com

Dick Snyder, 121-0612, rcs39@aol.com

If you would like a copy of minutes from a Board of Directors meeting, please contact John Simsarian, President.

                    Committee Chairs and Activity

Canvass 15 
Trish Snyder, 121-0612, trishsnyder49@gmail.com
Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, 154-8504, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com
Nominating Committee
Cynthia Claus, cclaus731@gmail.com
Administrator (OOS, website, newsletter, committee & board support)
Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com 


Care Team
Lydia Jane Failing, lydiajafa@yahoo.com
Francoise Yohalem, francoise.yohalem@gmail.com

Children's Program
Chris Chase, chris.chase1955@gmail.com

Circle Cena
Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com

Discussion Group
Liz Stone, elmendorf7@aol.com

Neighborhood Groups
San Antonio, Eleanor Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com 

Sunday Service Co-Chairs
Paula Peace, paulapeace@bellsouth.net
Diana Ekizian, djekizian@gmail.com

Coffee Hour
Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com

Cynthia Sterling, sterlingsilver33@gmail.com

Greetings & Name Tags
Jim Harper, smaharper@yahoo.com 

Ministerial Liaison
Eleanor Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com

Special Music
Jon Sievert, jon@humblepress.com

Order of Service
Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com


Social Action, Outreach and Publicity
Christie McGue, 231-342-6960, clmcgue@gmail.com

Social Action Committee
Dick Snyder, 121-0612, rcs39@aol.com 

Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Members regularly post updates and information on this site. You will need to create a Yahoo email address before joining.

To join our Yahoo group site create a Yahoo email account, then click on this link:


Then click on “Membership”and follow the directions.


Facebook: “Like” us at: UU Fellowship of SMA. Website: www.UUFSMA.Org

Mail address: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of SMA, Apdo 798, San Miguel de Allende 37700 Guanajuato, Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico