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2008 New Mexico Annual Conference

June 3-6, 2008, Glorieta, N.M.

The 2008 Joint Annual Conference of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Annual Conferences opened June 3 with a unified entry into opening worship.

Clergy and lay delegates, spouses and guests gathered outside Holcomb Auditorium to await the call to worship. At the sound of trumpets, all doors leading into the auditorium opened, beckoning those gathered inside.

Bishop D. Max Whitfield gave the opening address to the nearly 1,000 members of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Conferences. He implored those gathered to get up and do what God had called them to do.

"Most of us know how to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. What's missing is the action," Whitfield said. "Jesus calls us to rise and go into the unknown to do what we already know and to do it now."

New structure

The conference adopted a new structure designed to get it up and moving in a direction to accomplish its mission. That mission is "to engage, equip and empower every local church in their mission to develop dynamic disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

The conference also voted to adopt the Seven Vision Pathways of the Council of Bishops as its strategic goals for the new quadrennium.

The new structure calls for the formation of a Conference Ministry Team that will work to implement the vision and mission of the conference and ensure that the decisions and actions of the conference are implemented.

Reporting to that team will be an Envisioning Ministry Team, Engaging Ministry Team and Equipping Ministry Team. These teams will work with satellite groups (ministries and committees) as they relate to one of the three teams.

Under this new structure, some committees and ministries will be reorganized, changed or dissolved, and new satellite groups may be formed. A goal of the new structure, according to organizers, will be to take the conference from the chaos of unclear responsibilities in which groups were functioning in ways they were not designed for and moving all parts of the conference into an environment of creative, group interaction with clear responsibilities.

"The old structure has everything ultimately accountable to annual conference," Bishop Whitfield said. "Most committees are not reporting what they are doing, and we're not asking them. We are trying to put in a mechanism that makes it clear what is expected of our ministries and committees and hold each other accountable."

Implementing the new structure will be a "work in progress" as the new teams begin to meet and develop this new direction and thinking.

Delegates also passed a resolution requesting "in the strongest possible terms" the reassignment of Bishop Whitfield to the Northwest Texas-New Mexico Episcopal Area for the 2009-2012 quadrennium.

'You're on the list'

The 2008 annual conference preacher for evening worship services was the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas. He reminded the congregation that there is room for everyone at Jesus' table. Everyone is on the guest list, and all should be invited to the table, he said.

"You are on the list," Gordon said. "Come with your failures, your faults, your dreams. You are on the list. Tell folk that 'you are on the list.'"

Members of both conferences collected a total of $14,854 during special offerings to be distributed to Lydia Patterson Institute, the United Methodist Committee on Relief Domestic Disaster Fund and McMurry Student Ministries. Another $20,000 was raised for the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign.

Nine men and women were ordained as full elders: Jeb Archey, Bonnie Brewer Hardesty, Stephanie M. Harmon, Jay B. Jones, Steven Paul Roberts, Todd Ryan Salzwedel, Jane Golden Vaughan, Joseph Edward Whitley and David Roy Whitman.

Anita Grace Krueger was ordained as a deacon in full connection. Probationary elders are Bethany K. Carpenter, Danny Keith Sanders and H. Blaine Wimberly.

The following were honored for their service to the New Mexico Conference and The United Methodist Church as they begin retirement: Sandy Burley, Roger Tsosie, Sherry Ann Brown, Charles Spooner, Richard White, Lawrence Johnson and Dan Bruce.

Membership in the New Mexico Conference stands at 38,447, down 442 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 16,525, down 531 from 2007. Church school attendance stands at 6,119, down 273.

--Karla Abernethy-Thetford