The activity is overseen by a volunteer group of seven persons. The group meets periodically to discuss and resolve operational matters and supports the weekly events. Vacancies are filled on an as-needed basis.
Open Circle provides a supportive environment to gather for social interaction and to improve our understanding of ourselves, our community and our world.
Presentations span a wide range of intellectual, cultural, physical and spiritual topics.
We do not necessarily agree with the ideas and philosophies of our presenters. We encourage you to listen with an open mind and form your own opinions.
Open Circle’s predecessor group, New Dimensions, was organized by Joan and Roy Forman circa 1995. The Formans held Sunday morning discussions at their home, emphasizing spirituality, Buddhism, Sufism, and various aspects of Christianity. In 2001 the couple announced they would no longer host the weekly gathering, and participants continued to meet in homes and restaurants, renaming themselves Open Circle.
In search of a regular meeting place, Marianne and Michael Warren approached the Lake Chapala Society (LCS) to see if Open Circle could utilize the patio area. The request stated the group’s talks and discussions were metaphysical in nature. A rental agreement was enacted for the weekly use of the requested space.
The early meetings at LCS were held in a circle and as participation grew, a lecture format was adopted. Several years later a low stage was built where the presenters could be easily seen by audiences comfortably seated in theater style. Over the years, weekly programs were coordinated by Marianne Warren, Hilary Stewardson, Derek Firth, Jim Spivey, and since 2015 by Margaret Van Every. In addition to the monthly rental fee, Open Circle has shared costs with LCS to purchase chairs. Additionally, it provides and maintains its own sound equipment and covers the cost of food and beverage preparation and logistical support.
For nearly a decade an informal group of five or six volunteers has addressed concerns and performed various functions supporting the growing popularity of this Sunday program. In 2011, Jim Spivey assumed total responsibility for the weekly event—its advertising, hospitality, and all technical aspects in the delivery of the programs, which involved his improving sound and delivery systems.
In July 2015, Jim Spivey retired and handed the administration of Open Circle to his chosen successors David Bryen and Margaret Van Every, who formed a Steering Committee with six other volunteers. With the Steering Committee’s diverse talents to perform specific operations, Open Circle expanded its range of topics, audience appeal, advertising reach, and size. In this age of digital communications, Open Circle became Open Circle Ajijic to differentiate it from other Open Circle groups readily found by Internet Search Engines.