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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Rio Texas Leaders Travel to South Africa for Global Young People's Convocation

Seven young adult Rio Texas leaders traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to meet with other leaders from around the denomination at the Global Young People’s Convocation. Participants prayed, listened, celebrated, and discussed different topics during a legislative forum. There were other opportunities for growth and learning during the five-day convocation.

Young adult Rio Texas leaders learned from other’s different cultural backgrounds and languages.

“The most challenging part for me was getting in the mindset that we come from different backgrounds where not everything is the same,” said Marlee Claes from Kyle UMC. “We don’t all have the same opportunities and access to things.”

The leaders were placed in groups to hear different voices on a wide spectrum of issues affecting the UMC.

“It's one thing to understand in theory how our policy allows for the writing and passing of new legislation; it's another thing to see that in action,” said Cuero UMC Pastor Rev. Kallie Green. “It was interesting to consider and see how the process of writing legislation and getting it passed works. Understanding the process better has opened up my imagination to new ways to be more involved.” 

Legislation passed during these hearings will be presented to the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis.

The convocation not only strengthened the bond between Rio Texas and the global church, it allowed for community building within the Young Adult and Youth Ministry Councils.

“I love many parts of GYPC growing together with our local leaders and seeing them in action on the global stage is truly amazing,” said St. Mark UMC, Austin Pastor Rev. JD Herrera. “We are a strong, global church that is full of God and alive in the Spirit. We have many amazing young leaders answering a call to follow Christ and lead the church.”

UMNS: Young people from 40 countries gather at convocation

Delegates:
Marlee Claes, Youth Delegate, Hill Country District, Kyle UMC
Rev. Kallie Green, Young Adult Delegate, Crossroads District, Cuero UMC
Zephyr Straus, Young Adult Delegate, Capital District, Westlake UMC
Rev. JD Herrera, Adult Delegate, Capital District, St. Mark UMC
Tori Perales, Young Adult Delegate, El Valle District, Christ UMC
Rev. Abigail Parker Herrera, SCJ Staff
Rev. Dr. Tanya Campen, Director of Intergenerational Discipleship

Mission Opportunities at Martinez Disaster Response Warehouse

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Mission team opportunities are available now at the Martinez Disaster Response Warehouse in Kerrville near Mount Wesley. 

Help is needed to verify flood buckets so they can be ready for distribution when the next flood hits the Rio Texas Conference.  

More than 1000 flood buckets are stored in the warehouse but they need to be verified before they can be distributed to flood survivors. UMCOR requires all kits to be checked for verification so that they contain the exact items designated by UMOCR. 

The opportunity is available to a wide variety of teams ranging from Junior High Youth to senior adults. UMW teams have found the opportunity rewarding. Team size can vary but a maximum of approximately 15 is recommended. 

Teams that include youth must comply with the Conference Trusted con Confianza Safety Policy.  Teams should plan to spend no more than three to four hours in the warehouse on any one visit. 

Inquiries should be sent to Jack Clarke, warehouse manager for the Rio Texas Disaster Response.

Leadership Institute 2018 Registration is available now for Church Leaders

Leadership Institute is quickly approaching. We hope you and your church are getting ready to come and learn as a team! Bishop Schnase will be one of the keynote speakers, so it would be wonderful to have a large group from the Rio Texas Conference.

The registration process has changed from last year, so please read everything below:

  • COR is requiring that if a Conference is getting a reduced rate, each church registering will need to turn in to the conference office a written paragraph or so about the expectations for leadership development in the local church.

In other words, how will you use the conference to further develop leadership in the local church?

  • All Clergy and 2 lay people from each church may register via the discounted rate. The Rio Texas Conference will pay for the registration fee.
    NOTE: More are allowed to register, but not under the reduced rate. The individual or church will need to cover the cost for the additional people.

Instructions for registering:

  1. From the website, li.cor.org, select Registration from the top menu.
  2. Advise the group to scroll down the page and read through the Registration Tips prior to registering so they’ll have all the information ready to enter.  If a registrant completes only part of the registration before completing the payment section, their registration won’t be complete and they won’t be registered.
  3. After reading through the Tips, they can select the Register Now button.
  4. After entering their Name and email address, they’ll need to select ShareChurch Registrar Group from the dropdown menu for Registration Type.
  5. On the next screen in the ShareChurch Registrar Group, they need to select Rio Texas Leadership Group from the dropdown menu. For payment type, select “pay by check”

Please note: The group registration is for the main Leadership Institute workshops only. If you want to attend the pre-institute workshops, you must pay for these courses separately.

Besides paying for all clergy and two lay people from each church, clergy may turn in travel/hotel reimbursements for up to $150. All original receipts will be needed. Karen Horan will have the forms at the Leadership Institute for you to fill out. You can hand them in or mail them in at a later date.

Since MHM covers the clergy portion, a follow-up survey must be completed before reimbursements will be mailed.

Of course, you may bring more than three church members, but they would go through the “regular” registration process.

If you have any questions, please contact Karen Horan at khoran@riotexas.org or Eve Albert at evealbert@riotexas.org or 210-408-4551 in the conference office.

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The Sacred Enneagram Workshop Coming to San Antonio

The Sacred Enneagram Workshop Coming to San Antonio

Join us from 9:00 am -4:30 pm on Saturday, September 15 at Coker United Methodist Church.

Are you wondering why so many people are talking about the Enneagram? What is that strangely-shaped star? Or maybe you have never heard of the Enneagram at all, but you seek to grow in your faith and well-being. While not an exclusively Christian tool, many Christians have used the Enneagram wisely and well to draw closer to God. Wherever you're starting from, you're invited to an introduction to this profound way of looking at who we are and our paths to spiritual growth.

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Joint Statement from Texas Bishops on Separated Families

Joint Statement from Texas Bishops on Separated Families

The bishops of the five Annual Conferences in Texas today issued a joint statement commending President Trump for signing an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating families on the border. Furthermore, the bishops urged readers to contact their congressional representative and senators to continue expressing concerns for the separated children and calling for legislation to keep families together.

View or Download Joint Statement from Texas Bishops on Separated Families

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United Methodists Pass Resolution to End Immigrant Family Separation at Annual Gathering

Dionisio Salazar presented the resolution to 1500 members of the UMC at the American Bank Center.

Dionisio Salazar presented the resolution to 1500 members of the UMC at the American Bank Center.

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
PDF Version

United Methodists Pass Resolution to End Immigrant Family Separation at Annual Gathering

CORPUS CHRISTI (Tuesday,  June 12, 2018) – The Rio Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church passed a resolution on June 9 to formally request the US Department of Justice to cease the separation of immigrant children from their families. Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Rio Texas Annual Conference, presided over the motion during the Annual Conference to address the humanitarian crisis affecting children held in detention centers located across South Texas. 

Rio Texas Transforming Communities Vision Team Chair Dionisio Salazar (of Parker Lane UMC; Austin) presented the “Resolution to End Family Separation” before the conference: 

“Whereas the United States government recently implemented a coercive ‘zero tolerance policy’ resulting in the traumatic separation of children from immigrant parents and the subsequent incarceration of children in secretive detention centers; 

Whereas several of the detention facilities are operated within the geographical boundaries of the Rio Texas Conference; 

Whereas this practice constitutes a violation of international law, child abuse, harassment and discrimination; 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Río Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, in the name and Spirit of Jesus Christ, shall respectfully request the US Department of Justice immediately discontinue separating children from their families due to the ‘zero tolerance policy.” 

1500 lay delegates and clergy voted overwhelmingly to support the resolution to end family separation. 

The Rio Texas Annual Conference meets every June at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas to conduct the business of the United Methodist Church for the Rio Texas region that spreads from north of San Angelo to the Rio Grande Valley in the south. This is the fourth gathering since the former Southwest Texas Conference and Rio Grande Conference merged to become the Rio Texas Annual Conference in 2015.

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ABOUT: 

The Rio Texas Annual Conference aims to reach out to people of South and Central 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 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.  Our Bishop is Robert C. Schnase. He was assigned to Rio Texas in 2016 after 12 years in the Missouri Annual Conference. For more information about the conference or our bishop, please visit http://riotexas.org and follow us on Twitter @RioTxAC. 

Churches Large and Small Work to Protect our Children

Churches Large and Small Work to Protect our Children

Churches large and small continue to protect our children by working to ensure their leaders are Trusted con Confianza (trusted with confidence).

Following Annual Conference 2017 and the adoption of the new Rio Texas Child, Youth, and Vulnerable Adult safety policy, the Rio Texas Conference Safety Task Force launched Trusted con Confianza – inviting churches and organizations across the connection to participate in this certification ministry.

Churches large and small have said “yes” to safe ministry– working on policies and inviting leaders to go through the certification process.

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