Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Rio Texas Annual Conference, has announced the appointment of two new district superintendents. Rev. Andy W. Smith will become the new superintendent of the West District. Rev. Smith will replace Rev. Steve Purdy who has taken medical leave. Rev. Dr. Marcus Freeman, III will be the new superintendent of the Crossroads District. He will replace Rev. Robert Lopez who has served both Crossroads and El Valle districts since last fall.
Rev. Smith has served since 2014 as Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church, Seguin. Prior to that, he held appointments at First UMC, Bastrop; Lake Travis UMC; St. Matthew's UMC, San Antonio; Dripping Springs UMC; and St. Paul UMC.
“Andy Smith brings a wealth of pastoral experience to the task of superintendent ministry," said Schnase. "His thoughtfulness and thoroughness, his love of Christ and the Church, his ability to listen, and the respect he receives from his colleagues—these are qualities that will serve him well in the West District and on the Cabinet.”
Smith is looking forward to the opportunity. "I am so excited to work with Bishop Schnase on the Cabinet, and with the strong leadership team that is being assembled,” said Smith. “I believe we are entering a season of fruitfulness, and I'm eager to do my part. I'm also eager and excited to be in the West District; to get to know the churches, to meet the laity, and to serve alongside the pastors."
Rev. Freeman is currently Director of Leadership Vitality in the conference's Mission Vitality Center. He joined the annual conference staff after eight years as the senior pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church, San Antonio. Prior to St. Paul’s, he served appointments at St. Peter's UMC, Austin; Wesley Harper UMC, Seguin; and a three-point charge in Columbus, Altair, and Garwood.
“Marcus has proven to be an excellent pastor in the churches he has served," complimented Schnase. "He also brings experience in Leadership Development from his years on the conference staff. His gentle spirit makes him a delight to work with. His clarity of thought, strategic planning, and persistence in following through on projects has earned the respect of pastors and laity. I look forward to his service in the Crossroads District and to what he brings to the Cabinet.”
Freeman sees this appointment as a sort of homecoming: "I served my first two appointments in the former Victoria District, spanning over a period of eight years," he said. "In addition, I have both maternal and paternal family of origin roots in the district area and I met and married my wife whose is a native of the area and is rooted there as well."
“I am greatly humbled by Bishop Schnase's invitation to serve in a Cabinet role in the Crossroads District which has ignited and beckoned in my spirit a sense of calling to journey in ministry with the District into this new season in the life of the Rio Texas Conference.”