Victor Diaz joins the Chebeague Community Church this month. Contributed / Victor Diaz

Chebeague Community Church gets a new leader this month when Victor Diaz from El Paso, Texas, takes over and “takes the church out to the people.”

Diaz has taken a different path than most traditional church leaders. He doesn’t have many letters behind his name and, instead of spending years preaching, he has spent much of his career as a corporate chaplain and as an end-of-life chaplain at a hospice. He has also co-owned a women’s fitness center owned and managed rental properties and designed and manufactured tiny homes.

“I grew up in an evangelical world,” Diaz said in an interview with The Forecaster, but moved on from that to develop his faith with fewer constraints.

He was a youth pastor in Nebraska for 15 years, before moving to El Paso where he lived for the past  seven years.

The opportunity on Chebeague Island was completely serendipitous, Diaz said.

During the pandemic, he connected with a Maine man online. They engaged in a virtual Bible study each Wednesday until finally, they met in person this June.


It was during a golf cart tour of Chebeague that Diaz’s friend mentioned the pastoral vacancy at the church.

“At that point, I had been doing two years of deconstruction of my faith and my belief systems,” Diaz said. “I had no idea about Chebeague until June, and I just felt like it was a good match.”

He went to bed that night thinking about the opportunity. In his friend’s guest room, a poster read ‘what’s the best that can happen?’” Diaz got to thinking.

“I reframed the question, ‘what’s the best that could happen’? So I applied,” Diaz said.

Church Chairwoman Rochelle Rice said she immediately noticed Diaz’s uncanny ability to connect with people. The church had surveyed the community earlier in the year, and respondents said one of the most important qualities of the church was pastoral care.

“What’s so different about him is he has a way of connecting with what he calls ‘the unchurched,’” Rice told The Forecaster. “He takes the church out to the people instead of waiting for them to come through the door.”


In 2021, Chebeague Community Church disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church. It has been without a leader since 2022 when its minister of seven years decided to move on.

For the church, Diaz came ready-made as the perfect fit.

“He’s the right person at the right time,” Rice said. “Victor has the skillset to reach people with the door open much wider.”

Diaz said he stands in “amazement” at how tight-knit the island community is, and he looks forward to being the bridge between the past and the future.

“Coming from Texas, I’m amazed at ‘this is the way life should be,’” he said. “Our mantra now is ‘this is the way church should be.’”


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