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2007 New Mexico Annual Conference

June 6-9, 2007, Glorieta, N.M.

The 132nd session of the New Mexico Annual Conference met at LifeWay Conference Center with Bishop Max Whitfield of the Northwest Texas/New Mexico Area presiding. "Following the Shepherd" was the annual conference theme, based on Christ's parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15: 6-7). Missouri Area Bishop Robert Schnase was conference preacher.

Delegates celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Four Corners Native American Ministry, which began in 1977 when two Navajos and three Anglos met at Shiprock, N.M., to discuss ways that the reservation's three existing Navajo United Methodist churches could support and encourage each other. Together, they developed a plan whereby those drawn to the ministry would take Jesus Christ to fellow Navajos.

Conference banners celebrated the pastoral nature of the theme and the lifestyle of the Navajos of the Four Corners area. The central banner incorporated Navajo blanket designs and a central prevailing white cross, with bordering flames symbolic of United Methodism.

Throughout the session, a Four Corners booth in the display area allowed delegates and guests to get an overview of the development and scope of the ministry and to visit with its leaders. The recently released book Four Corners: Where the Holy Spirit Touches Navajo Lives was available for purchase, with proceeds designated for the Ministry. The book is by Albuquerque layman Stan Sager with a foreword by the Rev. Fred W. Yazzie, the first ordained Navajo United Methodist minister.

Navajo pastors and laity led the meeting's final evening worship service. "I weep that United Methodism in the United States has failed to understand and appreciate the outstanding work of the dedicated servants who led the way in presenting Jesus Christ, forming communities of faith, transforming lives and creating the most effective Native American ministry in the United States," Bishop Whitfield said in his "state of the church" address.

Delegates rejoiced at reports that the New Mexico Annual Conference experienced its smallest membership loss in more than 20 years and that 52 congregations received more members on profession of faith and restoration of faith than in 2005. Forty-three percent of conference congregations experienced an increase in worship attendance. Shared ministries/apportionment giving increased by 6 percent over the previous year.

A new congregation and a Navajo church were constituted during the conference year.

Conference congregations contributed $26,918 for the Annual Conference Mission Project to support seminarians in Mulungwishi, Congo. In addition, delegates supported four special offerings contributing $7,625 for the Nothing but Nets Campaign, $4,147 for Louisiana Pastors and Churches, $7,076 for the Four Corners Native American Ministry, and $2,923 for Congo Seminary Scholarships.

Three churches were recognized for excellence in evangelism.

Four people were ordained elder in full connection, six were commissioned probationary elder, and three pastors were granted the retired relationship. The annual conference recognized the orders of Pastor Kee Kim and received into probationary membership Pastor Yong Sub Sim from the Korean Methodist Church.

The conference adopted a policy requiring that each local church adopt a "safe sanctuary" policy for their church by December 31. It approved a resolution endorsing Daniel Ivey-Soto as a lay candidate for the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church and a resolution requesting the denomination's Board of Higher Education and Ministry to adopt the slogan "Empowering Christian Leaders for Today" in place of the current "Preparing a New Generation of Christian Leaders."

Lay delegate elected to the 2008 General Conference is Daniel Ivey-Soto of Albuquerque. The clergy delegate is Jeff Lust of Albuquerque, who will lead the delegation.

Lay delegate elected to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference is William W. Wood of El Paso, Texas. The clergy delegate is Eduardo Rivera, also of El Paso. Wood is also the alternate lay delegate elected to General Conference.

Alternate lay delegates to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference are Kelly Brooks, Albuquerque; Charles Cole, Santa Fe; and Louise Mendius, Los Alamos. Alternate clergy delegates are Layloni Drake, Gallup; Jon Moore, Las Cruces; and David Edwards, Albuquerque.

Membership stands at 38,889, down 329 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 16,952, down 148. Church school attendance stands at 6270, down 383.

-Julianne McAchran