2007 Central Texas Annual Conference
June 3-6, 2007, Fort Worth, Texas
The Central Texas Annual Conference met June 3-6 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, site of the 2008 General Conference, with Bishop Ben R. Chamness presiding and the Rev. Mouzon Biggs, senior pastor at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church of Tulsa, Okla., as guest preacher. The Rev. Earl Bledsoe of Houston conducted daily Bible studies based on the conference theme "Follow Me &ellipsis; N.O.W." and with this year's focus on the nurturing disciples portion of the Nurture, Outreach and Witness program areas.
Bishop Chamness called for a "Celebration of the Return" on Sept. 9 to celebrate Sunday school and reinforce growth in faith and disciple building as a life-long journey.
The Nurture Council challenged congregations to:
- Return to the tradition of Sunday school for all ages;
- Create inspiring worship with the expectation that the Holy Spirit is involved and something wonderful will happen;
- Commit to give children, youth and all life stages of adults a safe and inviting atmosphere for learning and experiencing God's love; and
- Grow in stewardship of God's gifts.
Clergy delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are Tim Bruster of Fort Worth; Brenda Wier of Fort Worth; Mike McKee of Hurst; Jerry Chism of Fort Worth; Clifton Howard of Waco; and Karen Greenwaldt of Nashville, Tenn.
Laity elected to General Conference are Bliss Dodd of Fort Worth; Tom Harkrider of Fort Worth; Ed Komandosky of Taylor; Sam Rodriguez of Fort Worth; Myrtis Parker of Fort Worth; and Paula Whitbeck of Georgetown.
Clergy delegates elected to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference are David Mosser of Arlington; Jeannie Trevino-Teddlie of Fort Worth; Ken Diehm of Grapevine; Shelly Brooks of Keller; John McKellar of Southlake; and Debra Crumpton of Arlington.
Laity elected as delegates to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference are Sandra Oliver of Temple; Steve McIver of Ferris; Joan Gaspard of Fort Worth; Jake Allen of Arlington; Julie Worcester of Tolar; and Kim Simpson of Arlington.
In an unprecedented move, the opening worship service offering for Nothing But Nets was carried into the business session when Bishop Chamness' wife, Joye, honored her husband on their 47th anniversary with a $10 net for every year of their marriage. Her gift set off a fervor as others made pledges in honor of a loved one or special event. The result was $100,000 for Nothing But Nets!
In other actions, the conference:
- Narrowly approved indefinite postponement of resolutions concerning the church's position on Iran, just minimum wage, inclusive local church membership, restorative justice, federal budget priorities, global climate change, withdrawal from Iraq, voter-owned elections in Texas, discontinuing the Social Principles and deleting them from the Book of Discipline, rejecting torture, wise use of resources, immigration and support of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry;
- Celebrated 33 consecutive years of membership growth in the conference;
- Passed a 2.79 percent budget increase for a $10,215,894 budget and celebrated a 100 percent payout of 2006 General Church apportionments;
- Approved the acquisition of a 35,000-square-foot facility on 7.2 riverfront acres for a conference retreat center in Glen Rose-a satellite addition to the existing Glen Lake Camp & Retreat Center;
- Received a report on the hosting operations for the 2008 General Conference and welcomed the presence of Alan Morrison, business manager with the Commission on General Conference;
- Closed four churches and celebrated eight new church starts; and
- Ordained seven elders, two deacons and consecrated 14 probationary members for ministry and honored nine clergy in their retirement.
Membership stands at 161,703, up 1,584 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 47,875, down 147. Church school membership stands at 60,280, up 369.
-Carolyn E. Stephens