The United Methodists of The Rio Texas Conference are focused on reaching out to the people of South Texas. Some of our churches are located in some of the fastest-growing areas of the country. Others are located in areas where people are struggling with issues of poverty, lack of affordable housing, and a loss of hope. We are committed to providing vital missions, vital congregations, and strong leaders to connect our churches to the people.
Our mission field spans South Texas. Our churches are in large cities and small towns from Austin to McAllen, from San Angelo to Victoria in vibrant cities, historic small towns and struggling communities.
St Mark UMC; Servant UMC; and FUMC, Austin recently participated in the Cold Shelter Program in Austin. Front Steps and Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM) developed the Cold Weather Shelter Program several years ago. They coordinate local churches and community volunteers to provide shelter in church facilities on nights when the temperature drops to freezing.
After nearly 20 years, Chapel for God’s Country Ministries finally raised $1.8 million in private and corporate donations to build a chapel at the Torres Prison Unit in Hondo.
However, Tom Patterson, who serves on the prison ministry’s board, said $200,000 is still needed for stained glass windows and to furnish and equip the sanctuary that will hold 300 inmates of all faiths.
Story and Photos by Laura Bray
Two months since Harvey made landfall. Surely all the Early Response Team (ERT) work is done, right?
After six weeks in Victoria, teams have completed 106 chainsaw jobs, 29 cases of interior clean-up and tarped 49 roofs. Over 100 work orders remain open with more expected to come, which does not include work orders in the Coastal Bend area.
Sierra Vista United Methodist Church’s Children’s Ministries hosted its annual children’s camp at Butman Camp and Retreat Center in Merkel, TX on Aug. 6-10. Sixty-four children, six youth, and 15 adults enjoyed five days of fun, fellowship, and faith formation in the Big Country.
As a result of the generosity of campers’ families, Sierra Vista’s Finance Committee and congregation, and the West District; 43 from Sierra Vista; nine from Saint Luke UMC, San Angelo; seven from First UMC, San Angelo; one Miles UMC child; and five children from Saint Paul UMC, Kerrville were able to study and learn about the “spirit life.”
By Laura Merrill
The pastor and people of First United Methodist Church in Rockport are making their way toward the future one day at a time. In a town where many road signs are down, and directions can start with, “You know where the big crab used to be?” the sense of disorientation in their own town continues. But it’s starting to get better.
The grand re-opening of Hope reSTOREd took place on July 11. The store is an outreach ministry of Manor UMC. The Manor Chamber of Commerce and Rev. Jason Surdy participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony. The Store began in three classrooms of the church’s Education Building in July 2016 and quickly outgrew its first location.
By Laura Bray
Mangled sheet metal all over lawns. Enormous piles of cut tree trunks and limbs lined up along the roads. The growl of chainsaws and the high-pitched whine of Bobcat front-end loaders echoing through town. The two-stroke “chucka-chucka” and gas fumes from nearby generators. Mobile homes broken and laying on their sides or in ditches. Buildings missing walls or roofs—or both. My heart broke as my Early Response Team (ERT) drove into Fulton—two weeks after Hurricane Harvey.
As a child of the Gulf Coast, I understand the havoc a hurricane wreaks. As a first-time ERT responder, the sights and sounds just took my breath away.
Rio Texas Annual Conference
16400 Huebner Road | San Antonio, Texas 78248 | 210-408-4500
...and all throughout the mission field of south Texas