FEAR+LESS, DIALOGUE MORE!

 
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Fearless Dialogues is coming to Rio Texas, October 4 and 5, and you’re invited! 

Do you feel God calling you or your church to reach new and different people? Do you want to help heal divisions in your community?

Fearless Dialogues is a grassroots organization committed to creating unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other. In brief, Fearless Dialogues retrains the eyes and ears of leaders to see gifts instead of stereotypes, and to hear value in the storied lives of others. From this shared space of meaning, where participants see and hear worth in others, the pump is primed for hard conversations and for cultivating hope that leads to sustainable change.

Learn more about Fearless Dialogues at www.fearlessdialogues.com. The program is based on the book by Dr. Gregory Ellison II, Fear+Less Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice. Dr. Ellison serves on the faculty of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Read about our presenter, Rev. Dr. Georgette Ledgister, here

This program will be offered in two parts, a longer day on Friday, October 4 (limited to 100 participants) and a briefer time over lunch, Saturday, October 5 (limited to 200 participants). You are welcome to attend either or both events. These times together will be a great opportunity for either individuals or lay and clergy teams to learn together.

Full-Day Dialogue

Friday, October 4 / 9:00-5:00 / Alamo Heights UMC + Satellite site in South Texas (location determined by level of interest)

Round Table Introductory Dialogue (lunch included)

Saturday, October 5 / 12:00-2:00 p.m. / Alamo Heights UMC

Registration Fee:

  • October 4 & 5 - $70

  • October 4 event only - $60

  • October 4 event via satellite - $50

  • October 5 event only - $20 

To register, click here. Hope to see you there!

Interested in church planting? 

We are excited that Rev. Karen Horan, Director of Creating/Vitializing Congregations and Developing Leaders will be teaching a class this fall on New Church Development (CM255A Special Topics: New Church Development). Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is allowing ANY Pastor of ANY Denomination to come audit the class. The flyer below contains the details for the class.

Download the application HERE. Once completed, submit the application HERE.

Deadline is August 15th, but we hope to get that extended.

Did your church earn a Safe Gatherings window cling?

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Every year, Safe Gatherings recognizes their top performing churches. In 2019, Safe Gatherings recognized 87 Rio Texas Congregations for their excellent work in keeping children, youth, and vulnerable adults safe. These congregations (listed below) have 3.5% or more of their average weekly worship attendance approved by safe gatherings, with a minimum of 3 people approved for even the smallest churches. Churches recognized by Safe Gatherings receive window clings for their community to share their commitment to keeping children, youth, and vulnerable adults safe. Please join me in celebrating these churches for their excellent work!

Alamo Heights United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Art United Methodist Church-Art

Asbury United Methodist Church-Corpus Christi

Austin New Church-Austin

Bandera United Methodist Church-Bandera

Barksdale United Methodist Church-Barksdale

Bee Creek United Methodist Church-Spicewood

Bend United Methodist Church-Bend

Berkeley United Methodist Church-Austin

Bethany UMC of Austin-Austin

Blanco United Methodist Church-Blanco

Bracken United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Buda United Methodist Church-Buda

Bulverde United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Canyon Lake United Methodist Church-Canyon Lake

Cedar Creek United Methodist Church-Cedar Creek

Cedar Park First UMC-Cedar Park

Center Point United Methodist Church-Center Point

Chapel Hill UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

Christ Fellowship UMC-San Antonio

Christ UMC of Stockdale-Stockdale

Coker United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Colonial Hills United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Covenant United Methodist Church-Austin

Crestview United Methodist Church-Austin

Cross Tracks UMC of Liberty Hill-Liberty Hill

Cuero First United Methodist Church-Cuero

Divine Grace United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Dripping Springs UMC-Dripping Springs

Eagle Pass United Methodist Church-Eagle Pass

Edinburg First United Methodist Church-Edinburg

El Buen Pastor UMC-Edinburg

El Divine Redentor  UMC-McAllen

El Mesias UMC of Mission-Mission

Ernest T Dixon UMC-San Antonio

First UMC Marble Falls-Marble Falls

First United Methodist Church of Alice-Alice

First United Methodist Church of Austin-Austin

First UMC of Bastrop-Bastrop

First UMC of Bertram-Bertram

First UMC of Boerne-Boerne

First UMC of Brackettville-Brackettville

First United Methodist Church of Brady-Brady

First UMC of Bronte-Bronte

First UMC of Brownsville-Brownsville

First UMC of Burnet-Burnet

First UMC of Carrizo Springs-Carrizo Springs

First UMC of Corpus Christi-Corpus Christi

First UMC of Del Rio-Del Rio

First UMC of Devine-Devine

First United Methodist Church of Edna-Edna

First UMC of Eldorado-Eldorado

First United Methodist Church of Elgin-Elgin

First United Methodist Church of Elsa-Elsa

First UMC of Falfurrias-Falfurrias

First UMC of Ganado-Ganado

First UMC of George West-George West

First UMC of Goldthwaite-Goldthwaite

First United Methodist Church of Goliad-Goliad

First UMC of Gonzales-Gonzales

First UMC of Hallettsville-Hallettsville

First UMC of Harlingen-Harlingen

First UMC of Hondo-Hondo

First UMC of Johnson City-Johnson City

First UMC of Junction-Junction

First UMC of Kerrville-Kerrville

First UMC of Kingsville-Kingsville

First UMC of Lampasas-Lampasas

First UMC of Mason-Mason

First UMC of McAllen-McAllen

First UMC of Menard-Menard

First UMC of Mertzon-Mertzon

First UMC of Mission-Mission

First UMC of New Braunfels-New Braunfels

First UMC of Pflugerville-Pflugerville

First UMC of Portland-Portland

First UMC of Raymondville-Raymondville

First UMC of Rio Grande City-Rio Grande City

First UMC of Robert Lee-Robert Lee

First UMC of  Rockport-Rockport

First UMC of San Angelo-San Angelo

First UMC of San Marcos-San Marcos

First UMC of Seadrift-Seadrift

First UMC of Seguin-Seguin

First United Methodist Church of Sinton-Sinton

First UMC of Smithville-Smithville

First UMC of Sonora-Sonora

First UMC of Sterling City-Sterling City

First UMC of Three Rivers-Three Rivers

First UMC of Victoria-Victoria

First UMC of Weimar-Weimar

Flatonia United Methodist Church-Flatonia

Floresville United Methodist Church-Floresville

Fredericksburg UMC-Fredericksburg

Freer United Methodist Church-Freer

Gaddis Memorial UMC-Comfort

Grace United Methodist Church-Corpus Christi

Gruene United Methodist Church-New Braunfels

Helotes Hills United Methodist Church-Helotes

Hunt United Methodist Church-Hunt

Ingleside United Methodist Church-Ingleside

Jacob's Chapel UMC-San Antonio

Jefferson United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Jourdanton United Methodist Church-Jourdanton

Karnes City United Methodist Church-Karnes City

Kelsey Memorial UMC-Corpus Christi

Kempner United Methodist Church-Kempner

Kyle United Methodist Church-Kyle

La Feria First United Methodist Church-La Feria

La Grange First UMC-La Grange

La Santisima Trinidad UMC-Weslaco

La Trinidad UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

La Trinidad UMC of Seguin-Seguin

La Vernia United Methodist Church-La Vernia

Lakehills United Methodist Church-Lakehills

Laurel Heights UMC-San Antonio

Leakey United Methodist Church-Leakey

Leander United Methodist Church-Leander

Life in the City UMC-Austin

Lockhart First United Methodist Church-Lockhart

Lolita United Methodist Church-Lolita

Lometa United Methodist Church-Lometa

Luling First United Methodist Church-Luling

Lutie Watkins Memorial UMC-Llano

Lyford United Methodist Church-Lyford

Lytle United Methodist Church-Lytle

Manchaca United Methodist Church-Manchaca

Manor United Methodist  Church-Manor

Medina United Methodist Church-Medina

Medina Valley UMC-Castroville

Memorial United Methodist Church-Austin

Miles United Methodist Church-Miles

Monthalia United Methodist Church-Cost

New Fountain United Methodist Church-Hondo

North Shore United Methodist Church-Canyon Lake

Northwest Hills UMC of Austin-Austin

Northwest Hills UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

Oak Hill United Methodist Church-Austin

Oak Island United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Oak Meadow United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Odem First United Methodist Church-Odem

Oxford United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Parker Lane United Methodist Church-Austin

Pearsall United Methodist Church-Pearsall

Pleasanton United Methodist Church-Pleasanton

Point Comfort UMC-Point Comfort

Resurrection United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Rolling Hills Community Church-Lago Vista

Sabinal United Methodist Church-Sabinal

Saint John's UMC of Austin-Austin

Saint Paul UMC of Corpus Christi-Corpus Christi

San Pablo UMC of Alamo-Alamo

San Saba First UMC-San Saba

Schertz United Methodist Church-Schertz

Servant United Methodist Church-Austin

Sierra Vista United Methodist Church-San Angelo

Simpson United Methodist Church-Austin

Somerset United Methodist Church-Somerset

Spring Creek United Methodist Church-Fair Oaks Ranch

St. Luke UMC of Austin-Austin

St. Mark UMC of Austin-Austin

St. Mark UMC of McAllen-McAllen

St. Andrew's UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

St. John's UMC of Corpus Christi-Corpus Christi

St. Luke UMC of San Angelo-San Angelo

St. Luke's UMC of Corpus Christi-Corpus Christi

St. Matthew's UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

St. Paul UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

St. Paul's UMC of Kerrville-Kerrville

St. Peter's by the Sea UMC-Corpus Christi

St. Peter's UMC of Austin-Austin

Staples United Methodist Church-Staples

Tarrytown United Methodist Church-Austin

The Journey United Methodist Church-Buda

Travis Park United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Trinity Church of Austin-Austin

Trinity UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

Universal City United Methodist Church-Universal City

University UMC of Austin-Austin

University UMC of San Antonio-San Antonio

Utopia United Methodist Church-Utopia

Uvalde First United Methodist Church-Uvalde

Wesley UMC of Corpus Christi-Corpus Christi

Westlake United Methodist Church-Austin

Westlawn United Methodist Church-San Antonio

Wimberley United Methodist Church-Wimberley

Windcrest United Methodist Church-San Antonio

United Methodist Bishops of Texas Call for Non-Partisan Solutions to Unfolding Humanitarian Crisis Along U.S. Southern Border

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 July 15, 2019 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, 

We greet you in the name of our Lord. Together, we have watched with anguish the unfolding immigration crisis taking place along our southern border. Across our state, United Methodist churches are reaching out with compassion and aid to those who are suffering. We also count border patrol officers and those who work with agencies serving asylum seekers as members of our churches, and we know they are doing their best to respond to an overwhelming situation.  

Those seeking to enter the United States are children of God –- people for whom Christ died. We call upon government officials, regardless of political party, to seek solutions that reflect caring and compassion. Surely, in the midst of this unfolding humanitarian crisis, it is time to lay aside partisan politics and seek solutions of love, justice and mercy, which best reflect our fundamental values as Christians and Americans. As we search for a common response, may we rise above fear and divisiveness, remembering the guidance of Holy Scripture: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). 

As Bishops of The United Methodist Church in Texas, we call on the people of The United Methodist Church of Texas as well as all people of goodwill to pray for and work toward:    

  • Ending cruel policies that separate families;

  • Ensuring compassionate care for the health and welfare of children;

  • Providing safe and humane care for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence in their native countries; 

  • A common solution that respects, cares for and offers tangible assistance to those who are hurting and homeless; and

  • Working with officials in other countries to address root causes of violence and poverty, which threaten the health and safety of their citizens and force our sisters and brothers to flee their countries of origin.

We ask all who follow Christ as Lord to remember that our Savior was himself a homeless refugee fleeing violence. Jesus taught us, “When you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)  

May the Peace of Christ be with you and with the children and families who are suffering, 

The United Methodist Bishops of Texas  

W. Earl Bledsoe, Northwest Texas & New Mexico Episcopal Areas

Scott Jones, Houston Episcopal Area

J. Michael Lowry, Fort Worth Episcopal Area

Michael McKee, Dallas Episcopal Area

Robert Schnase, San Antonio Episcopal Area

Robert E. Hayes, Jr., Retired

Janice Riggle Huie, Retired

Joel N. Martinez, Retired

John W. Russell, Retired

Ann Sherer-Simpson, Retired

E. Dan Solomon, Retired

D. Max Whitfield, Retired

Joe A. Wilson, Retired

Pedido de los Obispos Metodistas Unidos de Texas de Soluciones No Partidistas para Desplegar La Crisis Humanitaria a lo Largo de la Frontera Sur de los EE. UU.

 15 de julio de 2019 

Queridas hermanas y hermanos en Cristo,

Los saludamos en el nombre de nuestro Señor. Todos nosotros hemos observado con angustia la crisis migratoria que se desarrolla a lo largo de nuestra frontera sur. En todo nuestro estado, las iglesias metodistas unidas están alcanzando con compasión y ayuda a los que sufren. También hay miembros de nuestras iglesias que son oficiales de la patrulla fronteriza y que trabajan con agencias que sirven a solicitantes de asilo y sabemos que ellos están haciendo todo lo posible por responder a una situación abrumadora.

Aquellos que intentan ingresar a los Estados Unidos son hijos de Dios y personas por quienes Cristo murió. Hacemos un llamado a los funcionarios del gobierno, independientemente de cualquier partido político, a buscar soluciones que reflejen cuidado y compasión. Por seguro, en medio de esta crisis humanitaria en desarrollo, es hora de dejar a un lado la política partidista y buscar soluciones de caridad, justicia y misericordia que mejor reflejen nuestros valores fundamentales como cristianos y estadounidenses. Mientras buscamos una respuesta común, que podamos elevarnos por encima del temor y la división, recordando la guía de las Sagradas Escrituras: "Porque no nos ha dado Dios espíritu de cobardía, sino de poder, de amor y de dominio propio." (2 Timoteo 1, 7).

Como Obispos de la Iglesia Metodista Unida en Texas, llamamos al pueblo de la Iglesia Metodista Unida de Texas, así como a todas las personas de buena voluntad a orar y obrar para:

  • Poner un fin a las políticas crueles que separan a las familias;

  • Asegurar un cuidado compasivo que provee salud y el bienestar de los niños;

  • Proporcionar atención segura y humanitaria a los refugiados y solicitantes de asilo que huyen de la violencia en sus países de origen;

  • Trabajar hacia una solución común que respete, cuide y ofrezca asistencia tangible a aquellos que sufren y están desalojados;

  • Trabajar con funcionarios en otros países para abordar las causas profundas de la violencia y la pobreza que amenazan la salud y la seguridad de sus ciudadanos y que han obligado a nuestras hermanas y hermanos a huir de sus países de origen.

Pedimos a todos los que siguen a Cristo como Señor que recuerden que nuestro Salvador mismo fue un refugiado sin hogar que huía de la violencia. Jesús nos enseñó: “Así como lo hiciste a uno de estos mis hermanos más pequeños, a mí lo hiciste.” (Mateo 25:40)

Que la paz de Cristo sea con ustedes y con los niños y las familias que sufren,

 

Los Obispos Metodistas Unidos de Texas

 

W. Earl Bledsoe, Area Episcopal de Northwest Texas y Nuevo Mexico

Scott Jones, Area Episcopal de Houston

J. Michael Lowry, Area Episcopal de Fort Worth

Michael McKee, Area Episcopal de Dallas

Robert Schnase, Area Episcopal de San Antonio

Robert E. Hayes, Jr., Jubilado

Janice Riggle Huie, Jubilado

Joel N. Martinez, Jubilado

John W. Russell, Jubilado

Ann Sherer-Simpson, Jubilado

E. Dan Solomon, Jubilado

D. Max Whitfield, Jubilado

Joe A. Wilson, Jubilado

Delegates Elected to 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences

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Clergy                                                                                      

General Conference

Laura Merrill                                                                            

James Amerson                                                                        

Raquel Feagins                                                                         

Taylor Fuerst                                                                           

 

Jurisdictional Conference

Paul Escamilla                                                                          

Abigail Herrera                                                                         

Wilson Pruitt                                                                           

Amelia Beasley                                                                        

 

Alternate

Russell Miller                                                                           

Liliana Padilla                                                                           

Michael Mumme                                                                     

Thomas Deviney

 

 

Laity  

General Conference

Jay Brim

Rachel Wright

Charles McGarity

Ralph Thompson

 

Jurisdictional Conference

Carol Loeb

Cynthia Johnson

Kercida McClain

Iris Chavez

 

Alternate Delegates

Priscilla Patterson

Aislinn Deviney

Patricia Stewart

Abby Gutierrez

Thank you from UMW Rio Texas President Grace Perez

I wish to express my sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the “Call to Action” organized by United Methodist Women last week at Annual Conference. Many items were received, including cash and gift cards. We appreciate your efforts to help make the lives of those families traveling long distances a little bit better. 

Items were turned over to Michael Smith, Holding Institute, Laredo, and Susan Hellums from El Valle District who will take them to the Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville. 

If at any time you would like to send other items such as socks, underwear, t-shirts, bras, or other clothing directly to Holding Institute or Good Neighbor Settlement House, please feel free to do so. 

Once again, many thanks. May God continue to bless each and every one of you as we continue to serve in this important ministry.

Grace M. Perez 
President, Rio Texas Conference UMW 

UMW Call to Action at Annual Conference 2019: Donate Items for Migrants

The Good Neighbor Settlement House is a non-profit multi-service agency in Brownsville Texas serving needy men, women and children by providing the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, showers and hot meals. Today, they offer respite to migrant asylee seekers daily.

The Good Neighbor Settlement House is a non-profit multi-service agency in Brownsville Texas serving needy men, women and children by providing the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, showers and hot meals. Today, they offer respite to migrant asylee seekers daily.

Members of the Rio Texas Conference United Methodist Women are collecting tote bags filled with hygiene items for Holding Institute in Laredo and Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville. These two centers are National Mission Institutions and are trying to respond to the needs of hundreds of migrants arriving daily.

Everyone is invited to participate in this project. Please bring your bags to the Mission Breakfast on Friday morning or the UMW Luncheon on Friday at noon. UMW will accept donations at their display table in the exhibit hall.

If you are not attending Annual Conference, you may send your bags with your clergy or lay delegates.

These are the most-needed items: 

·       Shampoo

·       Wash cloths

·       Bath soap/body wash

·       Lotion

·       Toothpaste/toothbrushes

·       Chapstick

·       Deodorant (women and men)

·       Hairbrush

·       Band aids

·       Disposable razors

·       Wet wipes

·       Feminine pads

·       Kleenex  

·       Tote bags

·       Non-perishable snacks

Travel sizes are also acceptable.

Gift cards to Walmart and Target are also accepted.

Please contact Rio Texas Conference President Grace Perez with any questions.

Located in downtown Laredo, Texas, Holding Institute is in covenant relationship with the United Methodist Women and in collaboration with other community partners, we are responding to the needs of women, children, youth, and families. Holding Institute hosts 40 to 60 migrant asylum seekers weekly. Lately, upwards of 100 persons have been sleeping at Holding nightly.

Located in downtown Laredo, Texas, Holding Institute is in covenant relationship with the United Methodist Women and in collaboration with other community partners, we are responding to the needs of women, children, youth, and families. Holding Institute hosts 40 to 60 migrant asylum seekers weekly. Lately, upwards of 100 persons have been sleeping at Holding nightly.

Light on the Hill @ Mount Wesley is Mount Wesley Re-Imagined

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The new programming dream for Mount Wesley Conference Center, Light on The Hill @ Mount Wesley (LOTH) is taking shape! LOTH is infusing new life and ministries into the Kerrville campus. Families & Literacy was among the first ministry partners to offer services at LOTH. The first graduating GED and ESL classes received their certificates in early May.

Other ministries on the LOTH campus are Kerr-Konnect, Mustard Seed Food Pantry, Methodist Healthcare’s Wesley Nurse program, Education & Exercise Center and Nutrition Center. These ministries combine to provide hope and a hand up for people in Kerrville and the six surrounding counties.

LOTH is a non-profit corporation whose Board of Directors come from both the Kerrville Community and the Rio Texas Conference Board of Trustees. At Annual Conference, the delegates will be asked to vote to accept a long-term lease agreement with LOTH.

The Rio Texas Conference Board of Trustees views this as the best path to honor the legacy of Mount Wesley and assure its continued viability as a fruitful ministry. This vision was born out of the work of the Mount Wesley Oversight Team and strategic partners that include First UMC: Kerrville, and Methodist Healthcare Ministries.

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Welcoming the Sojourners in Our Midst: Our Growing Response

The reality of global migration and the various push factors are an ever-present reality for us. Our ministry and mission context are stewarding presence and relationships along 460 miles of the U.S. / Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that over the first quarter of 2019, a total of 98,876 apprehensions of family units, unaccompanied children, and single adults have occurred as reported by the Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande sectors.

As a conference, the definition of the humanitarian response mandate and systems of support needed grows sharper each week as the flow of migration increases.

Read More

Does your church have a Youth Director or are you a Youth Director who would benefit from Theological Education? CYMT can help!

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) is entering into its fourth year in Texas!  For the past thirteen years, CYMT has trained over 100 youth ministers in the Southeast. 

“The Center for Youth Ministry Training is excited to bring our ministry of developing theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries to Texas. We have had tremendous success in the Southeast developing sustainable, effective youth ministries and are excited about doing the same in Texas,” stated Dietrich Kirk, CYMT’s Executive Director. 

In today’s world, good youth ministry requires more than just games and guitars.  For youth to experience a life-changing faith, they need an intentional community of teens and adults where they have a personal encounter with God, are encouraged to understand God’s purpose for their lives and find hope in the intersection of their story with God’s bigger story.  

If your church has a youth director, or you are currently working in youth ministry at a church, and would like more practical training and theological education, the CYMT Training-Only program is for you. Residents in the Training-Only program are given the opportunity to earn their Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree through a unique intensive-based curriculum format in partnership with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

We are currently accepting applications from Churches and Residents for our Texas Regional Campus. Applications will be accepted through June 15th space permitting.

For more information please contact Teresa Kingsbury, CYMT’s Texas Regional Director at teresa@cymt.org or (512) 960-2989.  You can learn all about the CYMT Graduate Residency program at www.cymt.org

Dedication of a Stained Glass Window in Honor of Dr. Raquel Martínez

Until May 12th, 2019, all the names placed on the stained glass windows were of men. Not one woman was named although women have worked side by side with their male counterparts since the establishment of La Trinidad UMC and the effort of the Methodist ministry through South Texas.

Rev. Dr. Roberto L. Gómez, the former pastor of La Trinidad UMC, noticed the omission and had a vision of having a stained glass window dedicated in honor of a worthy woman who made significant contributions to the Hispanic/Latino Methodist ministry.

Raquel’s name came to mind.

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Clergy Delegate Elections for 2020 General Conference

At Annual Conference this June 5-8, we will elect delegates to the 2020 General & Jurisdictional Conferences. Clergy interested in serving as delegates are invited to submit this form available to indicate their interest.  All clergy members in full connection (Full Elders and Full Deacons, including those approved for ordination at this year’s Clergy Session), whether or not they declare their interest to serve or furnish information on this form are eligible for election (¶35 Article IV, 2016 Discipline). 

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Conference Names Harvest Sunday Champion Diana Woods, Collection is Nov 3

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The Transforming Communities Vision Team has appointed Diana Woods to serve as the Rio Texas Conference HARVEST SUNDAY champion. As a means of promoting this annual offering, the Harvest Sunday Initiative Group, led by Diana and under guidance by The Transforming Communities Vision Team, will coordinate promotion and publicity for the 2019 Harvest Sunday offering.

Diana Woods is a consecrated Deaconess through the Office of Deaconesses and Home Missioners, serving the Rio Texas Conference. Her appointed ministry addresses poverty and hunger in the northern Hays County area, primarily among the rural poor, elderly, and first-generation immigrant families. Diana graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master's of Public Administration. She served as the Hill Country District United Methodist Women's President as well as Mission Coordinator for Education and Interpretation. She previously worked as a social worker in public housing and in disability programs for the Social Security Administration. She is a member of Buda United Methodist Church where she previously served as Lay Leader and President of the United Methodist Women's Group.

 

Soon to be published in the upcoming Pre-Conference Journal, the Harvest Sunday Initiative Group will be recommending the following for approval by the 2019 Annual Conference:

That, Sunday, November 3, 2019, be recognized as the date of participation by local congregations in the Harvest Sunday Offering.

 

That, acknowledgement be given to congregations for their action toward meeting United Methodist goals of “engaging in ministry with the poor” and “combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally.” One of the four areas of mission focus for the church is Ministry With the Poor. In the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25, we hear the biblical mandate to care for those in need: "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me." – re: www.umc.org

 

That, distribution of 2019 Harvest Sunday offering funds shall be as follows:

 

1.) 1/3 of totals collected, will be allocated for hunger initiative projects along the Texas-Mexico border areas that are situated, and served within the El Valle, Hill Country, Las Misiones and West Districts.

 

2.) 1/3 of totals collected will be returned to participating districts. Funds would be distributed, in consultation with district mission committees. Projects that seek ministry with, and, address root causes of poverty, would be of priority.

 

3.) 1/3 of totals collected, will be equally allocated among 5 Global Ministry Advance Projects with focus on food security and economic empowerment to be determined by the Harvest Sunday Initiative Group with concurrence by The Transforming Communities Vision Team

A message from Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Rio Texas Annual Conference

En Espanol

Dear members, pastors, and friends of the Rio Texas Conference,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many of you anxiously followed the proceedings from the Special Called Session of General Conference in St. Louis. These past few days have been emotionally difficult for every one of us. My heart broke watching fellow United Methodists fail to find a new path forward that breaks through the impasse that we’ve experienced in our church over the past 47 years over LGBTQ inclusion. We had many difficult and public conversations about issues that are tied to our identities as United Methodists, as Christians, and as children of God.

For those of you who have not followed the details, I offer a brief explanation of what happened over four days in St. Louis. After a full day of prayer, the 864 delegates from across the global church received the report of the Commission on a Way Forward, including the One Church Plan (which was recommended by the Council of Bishops), the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan. The General Conference decided to give priority focus to the Traditional Plan and the One Church Plan. After two days of debate, the One Church Plan was defeated, and the Traditional Plan was supported by a vote of 53% to 47%. The Traditional Plan keeps the current language regarding homosexuality in the Book of Discipline, and streamlines the processes to enforce penalties for violations related to marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons. A number of elements of the Traditional Plan, however, were have been found unconstitutional by the Judicial Council and the whole plan will be reviewed again at the council's meeting in April. This means some or all of what was approved may not actually take effect. During the weeks to come, I’ll be meeting with various groups to process what the decisions mean for us.

So, what does all this mean for the mission of Christ through the churches and people of the Rio Texas Conference?

First, I continue to count it an honor to serve as a Bishop of the United Methodist Church, and especially of the Rio Texas Conference. My task is to help us order our life together as a conference and to focus our work on the mission of Christ.  No matter how you may feel about the decisions of the General Conference or whether you agree with or are hurt by the outcome, we are still in ministry together. All of us are valued parts of the body of Christ. Our lives and ministries are interwoven by the Holy Spirit, and not by decisions made at General Conference. As bishop, I offer all my prayers and efforts to include and foster the ministries of every person seeking to serve Christ. No matter how you are feeling about the conversations going on at the global level of our denomination, I want you to know that every one of us and everyone we serve are of infinite value and matchless worth in God’s eyes. No denominational legislation will ever change that fact.

Second, I ask us not to underestimate the pain that is felt by many of our brothers and sisters in this moment. Many people feel hurt, betrayed, and excluded by the decisions made at General Conference. Please pray for those most personally affected. Within every congregation in our Conference, there are people for whom this conversation is not an abstract debate, but rather a conversation that affects lives dear to us—sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, co-workers and neighbors. A great number of people from the LGBTQ community are committed, faithful United Methodists. This is a tender time in the life of our church, a time especially to bear with one another in love with all humility and gentleness. (Ephesians 4:2)

Third, we still have much important work to do together. While we were gathered in St. Louis, the need for a faithful United Methodist witness in Rio Texas has only grown greater. Across our annual conference, there are multitudes that need to hear and witness the love of God in their lives and communities. While we debated plans and passed motions, our members and churches have been continuing the good work of reaching out to new people in new ways. Our disaster response network continues to bring hope to those lives devastated by Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters. Our churches and partners continue to respond to the humanitarian crisis at our border. Our congregations continue to seek fresh expressions of the Gospel, reaching out into our communities and experimenting with new ways to go where people are to connect them with the good news of Christ.

I realize that, for some, these words will ring hollow. Many of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters question whether there is truly a place for them in our church, and many of our traditionalist brothers and sisters feel anxious. But I want to invite everyone—whether or not you agree with the decisions of General Conference—to help us forge a way forward together in Christ as an annual conference.

“Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.”  Galatians 6:9

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13: 34-35.

Join me in prayer that we might continue to bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ in our churches, communities, and throughout Rio Texas.


Yours in Christ,

Robert Schnase, Bishop
The Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church

 

Seventy-eight legislative petitions headed for St. Louis for GC 2019

Seventy-eight legislative petitions headed for St. Louis for GC 2019

Dallas, Texas: United Methodist News Service

Seventy-eight legislative petitions headed for St. Louis

Dallas, Texas: The General Conference Committee on Reference has determined that 78 petitions submitted for consideration by the 2019 General Conference are in harmony with the purpose of the special session to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.

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UM Army Rio Texas Hosts 100+ Camps, Prepares for 2019 Outreach

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What a blessing it was to be #InRelationship with close to fifty church youth groups from the Rio Texas Conference and beyond as we served nine communities with ten mission opportunities May, June and July of 2018; we completed over 80 work sites including churches, non-profits, residential and Hurricane Harvey impacted locations with the help of 635 participants, Thank You!

Here is a quick look at our impact since U.M. ARMY Rio Texas first started offering mission opportunities in 2003: 

  • Total Camps = 110 

  • Total Participants = 7292 

  • Residential and non-profit sites = 1528 

  • Communities in Central/South/West Texas Served = 85 


I am amazed that so many have given an entire week in service to our Lord by helping our neighbors… You are Christ’s hands and feet to so many, thank you!

It is time for us to start prepping to be #SentOut in 2019 with College/Young Adult, High School, Middle School, Mixed Age and Family Mission Opportunities.
 
Here is a look at the 2019 Mission Season and please go to http://riotx.umarmy.org/mission-info/mission-season/ to complete your Group Registration: 

  • Homefront College & Young Adult @ Rockport May 19-25

  • U.M. ARMY Mixed Age @ Llano June 9-14

  • BASIC @ Port Isabel June 16-20

  • U.M. ARMY @ Brackettville June 16-22

  • U.M. ARMY @ Del Rio June 23-29

  • U.M. ARMY FAMILY @ Harlingen June 29-July 3

  • BASIC @ Boerne July 7-11

  • U.M. ARMY @ Rockport July 7-13

  • U.M. ARMY @ Edna July 14-20

  • BASIC @ San Angelo July -14-18

Written by Jenny Monahan (jennymonahan@umarmy.org

Asset-Based Community Development program to begin 3rd year – APPLY NOW

Asset-Based Community Development program to begin 3rd year – APPLY NOW

Through support funding from Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., The Mission Vitality Center / Outreach Vitality Office & Transforming Communities Vision Team announces the Transformational Communities of Praxis program.

Applications are now being received for the 2nd- year class of this program. The program is looking for church and community resident teams to participate in this program of learning processes in Asset-Based Community Development [ABCD]. Class size is limited to four teams.

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South Central Jurisdictional General Conference Delegate Gathering

South Central Jurisdictional General Conference Delegate Gathering

By Teresa Keese, Laura Merrill, and Abel Vega

Sixteen members of the Rio Texas General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation attended the South Central Jurisdictional General Conference Delegate Gathering held at St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City on October 4-5. The gathering, hosted by the SCJ Mission Council, was held to inform the delegates of the three structure options to be presented at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. The pension implications of each plan were also presented. Delegates from across the jurisdiction joined in a time of listening, learning, worship, prayer, sharing, and developing a sense of community and understanding across different backgrounds and beliefs. The event planners purposefully assigned seating to create a mixed group from different delegations and beliefs at each table, which allowed for a new depth of conversation surrounding the UMC and our mission and purpose. We discussed how that depth applies to the decisions to be made at the General Conference Special Session next February in St. Louis.

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