About Us

Mission Statement

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.

Steering Committee

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’s predecessor group, “New Dimensions,” was organized by Joan and Roy Forman circa 1995. Sunday meetings were held at their home with wide-ranging discussions on spirituality, Buddhism, Sufism and various aspects of Christianity.

In 2001, the organizers announced they would no longer host the weekly gathering. The participants continued to meet in homes and restaurants and as time passed, renamed their gatherings, “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. An 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, theater-style.

Over the years, weekly programs were coordinated by Marianne Warren, Hilary Stewardson, Derek Firth, Jim Spivey and recently, Margaret Van Every.

In addition to the monthly rental fee, Open Circle has shared costs with LCS to purchase chairs, providing and maintaining its own sound equipment and covers the weekly expenses for food and beverage preparation and logistical support.

For nearly a decade, an informal group of 5 or 6 volunteers has addressed concerns and performed various functions supporting the growing popularity of this Sunday program. In 2011, Jim Spivey joined the group and assumed responsibility for the weekly event.

In July 2015, Jim Spivey retired his role and David Bryen became successor, who formed a Steering Committee of six other volunteers to chart the activity’s future and support operational needs.

In this age of digital communications, Open Circle became “Open Circle—Ajijic” to make the activity’s name more specific, differentiating it from other Open Circle groups readily found by Internet Search Engines.