Retire in one of the world’s top vacation destinations, beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!  Our warm and welcoming Anglican parish will provide a housing stipend for a part-time rector — and a chance to preach in our traditional, straw-thatched palapa by the sea (it has air conditioning!). We’re flexible — you may want to come during the high season only to try us out. But we hope that this sought-after destination will grow on you and eventually become your home.

We are a mostly English-speaking congregation located on the west coast of Mexico in the very safe and fantastically beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta. If you aren’t familiar with Puerto Vallarta, there are so many good things to tell you about: the people, the food, the culture, the weather, not to mention a congregation of warm, wonderful people who like each other a lot and are devoted to their church.

Like many who come to our church I just wanted a place to come together for spiritual guidance, worship and friendship. What kept me coming back was the community of folks that had been created. (member for 10 years)

Christ Church by the Sea is a registered Anglican parish with the Diocese of Western Mexico, one of five dioceses in the Anglican Church of Mexico. The Diocese is majority Spanish speaking and comprises parishes, missions and prayer stations. We’re very fond of our diocese and we are enormously fond of our Bishop, Ricardo Gomez Osnaya who is a tireless worker on behalf of us all.

We have a small year-round core membership of about twenty people while attendance swells to between sixty and seventy during the winter months of high season. We stay in touch with our members through social media, mostly on Facebook, and with our newsletter. We are far flung but we remain a real faith community. We come from a variety of religious backgrounds although predominantly Episcopalian and Anglican. We skew heavily towards seniors, and gay men make up a noticeable proportion of the congregation. Here we are participating in this year’s March Against LGBT+ Phobia.

A group of people holding a rainbow banner

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As gay men, my husband and I love that we can be completely out and comfortable both in the parish and in the community. (member for 15 years)

We love our Social Hours after the Sunday service and at least one person (aged 12) would list the snacks as a highlight.

Our parish has in one sense been blessed to have a pastor who for close to full-time efforts receives a housing allowance. As a Search Committee and as a parish, we are grappling with what it will mean to have a part-time rector. At the same time, we have also promised ourselves that this time around we will be more aware of and alert to boundaries and limits. We are clear that we are offering a part-time position. We have become aware that the job description for the new rector needs to focus on the essentials of the job. As we see it, there are four essentials: assuming full responsibility for Sunday and Holy Day services; delivering emergency pastoral care; working closely with Vestry and the Worship Committee; and maintaining a relationship with the Bishop of our Diocese and attending Synod. We are committed to supporting our new rector in achieving these essential duties in 25 hours per week just as we hope the new rector will be committed to helping to sustain and build the congregation.

I love the inclusiveness of our congregation; I love the constant reminder of His love for us, I love our uniqueness in the personas attending because I think when I get to heaven the congregation will be multi hued and diverse. (member for 20+ years)

Our parish began in the early 1990s as a seasonal gathering of visitors in a hotel meeting room. Our current location is a rented facility within a commercial plaza. That makes it sound far less attractive than it is, when in fact it is gorgeous inside and out.

A fountain in front of a building

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We have had our good times and our not-so-good times. In 2017 our parish was thrown into upheaval when the rector, who owned the building, locked us out and we were forced to look for a new location. He did later reconsider his decision to retire but with a congregation that chose to become part of the Anglican Church of North America. That has meant that we are the only English language liturgical church in Vallarta. That was a low point, but we worked hard and bounced back and then, as with many parishes, we were hard hit by Covid. Some members who were and are a cherished part of the congregation still do not travel and of course members died. Our high season numbers have never returned to what they were pre-pandemic and this year, for the first time, we presented a deficit budget to the AGM. Despite this decrease in attendance numbers, our members continue to be generous and donations have remained stable; however, because our donations mostly arrive as American dollars and our budget is entirely in pesos, the strength of the peso has not worked in our favour.

One of the things I like best about our church is the strong dedication of parish members despite setbacks resulting from the pandemic and membership losses.  (member for 10 years)

Our church was closed for a long time at the beginning of the pandemic as governments in Mexico waited for the development of Covid vaccines and so we made a move to live streaming to provide opportunities for worship online. Oh, how we struggled! We continue to provide Sunday worship and weekday morning prayer online with Facebook and sometimes with YouTube as well to a good-sized online community. 

I started attending Christ Church by the Sea in about 2014. From the get-go, it was my home church away from home. There was instant community. Instant compassion.

The congregation as individuals are actively involved in numerous charitable organizations in the region. There are innumerable opportunities to give and our members do give of both their money and their time. As a church, however, we provide financial support to a school for the children of migrant workers and to an organization that evolved to respond to hunger in the community as a direct result of Covid.

The pandemic was a particular kind of crisis in Puerto Vallarta. A tourism-dependent economy staggered as tourism screeched to a halt. Without warning, workers lost their jobs and were left with no idea about when they might return to paid employment. And so the Vallarta Food Bank was born. In addition to being a major financial support of this fabulous organization, we provide weekly individual participation, and a monthly team of people to staff the meal service. A member of our Vestry serves on the Board of what is now Vallarta Cares. The new name reflects the mandate which has broadened to serving needs for employment, clothing and education. Although this year we have had to cut back on community outreach expenditures, we remain a key supporter of Vallarta Cares. 

The help that your congregation has provided in time, talent and treasure has been critical to the Food Bank’s very existence, without it the Food Bank might not have survived.  So thank you. (April 2024 email from Vallarta Cares treasurer, used with permission)

We have been supporting the Escuela de Niños Migrantes, a school for children of migrant workers in San Vicente, Nayarit, the state immediately above us, since early in 2019. The children of migrant workers do not qualify for attendance in the public system. The government has provided portable classrooms and teachers and volunteers have done the rest. From our side, this includes having built a fully equipped modern kitchen and dining area with functioning toilets, assisting with food for a meal program and providing English language classes. Although we are not as active as we once were, we continue to support the school as we are able and for example, collect and deliver school supplies. 

A recent project we have begun supporting financially is Mujeres del Occidente de México (MOM). This is a program of our diocese and serves women in need and at risk of intimate partner violence. Through MOM, the diocese plans to open four houses for women, the first of which will open in Guadalajara this year.

Expenditures on these three programs take up a little over twenty percent of our budget which is sadly down a lot from previous years. However, we also do nice things for ourselves. For example, over the past year, we have developed a significant music program which enhances our worship and has the added advantage of also providing training opportunities for musicians and small stipends to assist with income.

What keeps me coming back? For me it’d be fellowship in a diverse community, the sermons and the music. (member for 3 years)

If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking you’re the rector for us. We are looking for someone who is passionate about preaching and challenging people in their spiritual walk. We want someone who delights in the liturgy. We also need someone who is able to inspire people in the development of their own ministry. If this is you, why not consider coming to Mexico!