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.
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
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
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
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
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:
· Wash cloths
· Bath soap/body wash
· Deodorant (women and men)
· Band aids
· Disposable razors
· Wet wipes
· Feminine pads
· 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.
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.
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
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.
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.Read More
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).Read More
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
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
Dallas, Texas: United Methodist News Service
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.Read More
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 (email@example.com)
The Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church hosted the first Texas Planters Gathering, where pastors from all parts of Texas learned what's possible in church planting.
Join us next year in Houston on October 25-26, 2019.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.”
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