2007 Rio Grande Annual Conference
May 31-June 2, 2007, Abilene, Texas
The Rio Grande Conference met under the leadership of Bishop Joel N. Martinez on the campus of McMurry University with about 240 delegates representing 94 churches, boards and agencies. The theme was "Momento Nuevo Con Cristo: The Future Is Today," reflecting the conference's celebration of its first year of restructuring and its local churches working in 22 clusters on "cooperative ministry teams."
The conference approved a 2008 budget of $900,633, down $101,000 from the 2007 budget. The approved spending plan will reduce local church apportionments from an average of 21 percent of the local church's budget to approximately 13.4 percent. The decrease is designed to provide financial relief to local churches regarding the amount of money going to support the conference versus money staying in the local church for their ministries.
Delegates approved two resolutions on immigration and also approved and sent to the 2008 General Conference a resolution in support of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries to continue.
The Common Table presented a broad report on its work. In the body's "The Future is Today" session, delegates were led in presentations regarding the mentality of scarcity versus abundance, the importance of core values, an assessment tool for local churches and the Congregational Mobilization Process before finishing the session with Holy Communion and remembrance of covenant.
Bishop Martinez commissioned Lorenza Andrade Smith, and Isidro Piña was ordained as a member in full connection.
The Rev. Roberto Gomez of Mission, Texas, was elected clergy delegate to the 2008 General Conference. Gomez also was endorsed as an episcopal candidate within the South Central Jurisdiction. The lay delegate elected to General Conference was Jeremiah Gutierrez of McAllen.
Alternate clergy delegates to General Conference are: Mike Dobbs, Delia Estrada, Javier Leyva, Sandra Cabrera, Francisco Campos, Mike Albert, Cristian De La Rosa and Edward Garcia.
Alternate clergy delegates to General Conference are: Danny Soliz, Mary Silva, Rosa Torres, Analissa Trejo, Abel Vega Jr., Alma Navarro, Art Villalva and Ben Davila.
Membership stands at 14,256, down 212 from 2005. Worship attendance stands at 4,897, down 316.
The 2008 Annual Conference will be held June 12-14 in Corpus Christi.
- Abel Vega Jr.