On June 24, 1980 the very first Methodist Festival Choir convened on the campus of Shenandoah College & Conservatory of Music in Winchester, VA to prepare for their European Concert Tour. This choir was made up of approximately 150 young teens to college age youth from all across the United States. Under the leadership of Dr. Carlton Young Professor Emeritus of Church Music at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, the group was quickly molded into an outstanding choral organization.
The Methodist Festival Choir visited historical sites, missions, and parish churches rich in Wesleyan history and Methodist heritage. Their itinerary took them to Salisbury, Bristol, Leicester, Oxford, and London, England; Paris, France; Zurich, Switzerland; Salsburg, Austria; and Munich, Germany.
They brought their message through music to some of the most notable Cathedrals as well as to some of the most appreciative church's in Europe.
This year, 2015 marks 35 years since that very first tour. Through the power of social media and the Internet,that very first choir is reconnecting and renewing friendships. We have a Facebook group page where daily the "kids" from the past are returning. Our goal is to reconnect and sing one more time together as a choir and if possible have Dr. Carlton Young (the editor of our UM Hymnal) conduct us or at least be our special guest.
Facebook group may be found here.
Mr. Robert Palmer of Del Rio is trying to organize the reunion. You can contact him here.
El Valle and Coastal Bend District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Robert Lopez, recently experienced a ride-along with border patrol agents. The patrol took a route along the border very near his home. What he experienced continues to shape his understanding of our common ministry at the border.
He shared the following message with some of his colleagues later the same day:
It was one of the most meaningful and impactful experiences I have had in ministry. I am still processing everything I saw, but I came away having a deeper understanding and appreciation for the complex and multi-layered aspects of what is happening here.
by Rev. Laura Merrill
I was so grateful when Rev. Owen Ross invited me to be a part of the team allowed to enter the Tornillo detention facility to lead worship with the immigrant kids held there. So many people have wished there were something they could do in response to what we’ve seen happen with unaccompanied minors and especially immigrant children separated from their parents at the border, and I felt truly privileged to have the chance to stand in that place.
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. _ The Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter, who is also the resident bishop of the Florida Area, has issued the following statement in the aftermath of the mass shooting today in Jacksonville, Florida, USA:
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.
More than 6000 homes were affected in late June when torrential rains caused widespread flooding in the Rio Grande Valley, especially in Weslaco, Mercedes, and Pharr. The full extent of the damage and need is still being assessed. According to current FEMA registrations, 8457 homes have been damaged and 1662 destroyed.
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.