Faith is an important part of life at Lake Chapala for many who live here. A house of faith is as welcoming as the warmth and hospitality of the village communities that dot the northern shore of Mexico’s largest lake. Part of one’s faith life is also an opportunity to share in acts of charity offering your time, talents and tithe. Lake Chapala offers all in abundance.
For some 500 years now, beginning with the Spanish explorers and the Franciscan Friars who accompanied them, the Roman Catholic faith has played a dominant role in life in Mexico. As one might expect, there are several Catholic churches scattered among the villages along the north shore of the lake. In Ajijic, the parish church of San Andres is located a block east of the plaza. They offer nine weekend Masses in Spanish. There are two additional Masses at the Church of San Jose in the LaFloresta community in east Ajijic and three additional at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in west Ajijic. Due to the Covid pandemic, expats have voted to suspend for the present time Mass in English on Sunday mornings at San Andres. Those who would like Mass in English, have the opportunity on Sunday mornings at the Church of San Juan Bautista in the village of San Juan Cosala just west of Ajijic. Among various charities supported by San Andres parish, Caritas (Catholic Charity) assists the poor and elderly of Lake Chapala with needs in food, clothing and basic household living.
Those of the Anglican faith will find a welcoming faith community at St Andrew’s in Riberas del Pilar in west Chapala. They offer one Sunday mid-morning service and live-stream it on Zoom for those who are home-bound or prefer not to attend due to the current Covid situation. The church’s Outreach Committee coordinates a variety of programs such as the recent Christmas “Angel Tree” where funds collected provided gifts from the wish lists of Mama Cleo’s House for Teenage Boys and Casa de Ancianos, a home for needy elderly and mentally challenged. The Outreach ministry operates Todo Bueno, a shop which enables the parish to support a number of Lakeside charities. St Andrew’s phone/email tree stays in touch with congregation members, especially the shut-ins, weekly.
Little Chapel by the Lake, a non-denominational Christian congregation, is located on the Chapala-Jocotepec highway in San Antonio Tlayacapan. One of Lakeside’s oldest religious congregations, it meets late morning on Sundays and its members are warm and welcoming to visitors and anyone in search of a Christian faith home for worship.
The Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation usually meets in Riberas de Pilar just west of Chapala on Friday evening for their weekly service. An active faith-oriented community, they decided, due to the virus pandemic, to currently hold services via Zoom.
Lake Chapala Baptist Church is located a block north of the Chapala-Jocotepec highway in Riberas de Pilar. The church has services in both English and Spanish to meet the needs of our diverse Mexican and expatriate Lakeside community. A Sunday worship service is held in English in the late morning and in Spanish in the early afternoon. The English congregation holds a prayer meeting on Wednesday morning, followed my choir practice. On Wednesday evening, the Spanish congregation has Bible study. Bible study in English is offered on Thursday morning.
The Lake Chapala Unitarian Universalist Fellowship prides itself as a welcoming congregation. The congregation was meeting in person for their Sunday Service, but currently, due to the pandemic health concerns, service is offered on Sunday via Zoom.
For those of the Episcopal Faith, Christ Church Lakeside, a parish of the Diocese of West Mexico in the Anglican Church, meets at the La Huerta Eventos Building on the Chapala-Jocotepec highway in West Ajijic, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist on Sunday morning. Christ Church is a blended congregation of expatriate and Mexican members and the Scripture readings and some aspects of the Mass are recited in both English and Spanish.The Loaves and Fishes Food Distribution program is one of the parish’s charitable missions that provides needed food for local poor families. A Bible Study group meets on Wednesday, currently via Zoom.
Lakeside Presbyterian Church located in Riberas de Pilar has until further notice suspended in-person services at the church due to the pandemic situation. Sunday morning service is available for now on their website page or via their Facebook page. A church congregation very active in the community, their motto is: “You have family at Lakeside!” The church offers every Tuesday and Thursday Devotional Services via the same online sites. The church supports feeding programs in the villages of San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mezcala, La Cuesta and La Zapotera that assure children will have meals three times weekly. They also deliver despensas (pantry supplies) to needy families Lakeside.
Abundant Life Church is affiliated with the Assemblies of God of Mexico. The church is located on the Chapala-Jocotepec highway in San Antonio Tlayacapan. The Sunday Worship service is available in both English and Spanish at the church and is also currently virtually offered through their Facebook page, YouTube channel and church website. Bible Study in English is on Wednesday afternoon and in Spanish on Friday evening.