A Word from Conference Lay Leader, Ralph Thompson

I have a confession to share! A few nights ago, I slipped on my shoes, picked through the clothes in the closet to retrieve my warmest jacket, found the woolen cap that I very seldom wear, and ventured out into the cold to my truck. When I got to the truck, I had forgotten what I had gone out to get! I KNOW that similar things don’t happen to the average United Methodist over the age of 40, right? As I stood outside, I realized that I had spent so much time preparing for my “mission” that I had lost sight of what the mission was!

When you visit the Conference website, you can’t help but notice the new title banner, Rio Texas Conference. BAM! It’s 2015; and we are well on the way to putting into action the many things that were “merely” sketches, charts, and lists on paper seemingly days ago. We have spent a lot of time, energy, and prayers to bring us to this point. A simple trip to the Conference Center in San Antonio reveals startling evidence that change is no longer a theory…change is here and now!

Already, many have been affected, some painfully, by the changes that are sweeping the San Antonio Episcopal Area. As with any birth, new life can be uncomfortable. Just as with my late-night trip to my truck, it is easy for us to discover that we have spent so much time in planning that we now find ourselves asking, “Now that we’re here, what do we do, now?” 

Many functions that were once housed and managed by the Annual Conference will very soon become the responsibility of the Districts and local churches. What do we do about youth ministries and camps, adult and senior education and spiritual formation, lay leadership, resource acquisition and distribution, and so many other functions on which the local church and its members rely? Where will churches get assistance with ministries? And from where will we receive guidance and suggestions to help deal with our evolving mission fields? Support exists! The best place to start is at your District Offices.

Our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world continues. We only need to keep our focus on the goal, while exploring new ways to achieve it! Regardless of how we evolve as a new Annual Conference, our world…our mission fields…will continue to spiral into darkness until WE discover and apply resources and actions to bring about transformation.

Romans 12:1-2 reminds us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that, by testing, we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. As an Annual Conference, Districts, local churches, and folk in the pews, this challenge follows us into the NEW Rio Texas Annual Conference!

I pray that testing and discernment regarding how we shall embrace our new structure will, indeed, lead us to revealing the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for every church in our Conference! AMEN!