Delegates Elected to 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences



General Conference

Laura Merrill                                                                            

James Amerson                                                                        

Raquel Feagins                                                                         

Taylor Fuerst                                                                           


Jurisdictional Conference

Paul Escamilla                                                                          

Abigail Herrera                                                                         

Wilson Pruitt                                                                           

Amelia Beasley                                                                        



Russell Miller                                                                           

Liliana Padilla                                                                           

Michael Mumme                                                                     

Thomas Deviney




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

May 2019 Light on the Hill Mount Wesley 01.jpg

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.

May 2019 Light on the Hill Mount Wesley 02.jpg

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.

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


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 or (512) 960-2989.  You can learn all about the CYMT Graduate Residency program at

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

Harvest Sunday 2019.jpg

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:


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


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 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 (

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

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


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.