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2010 North Texas Annual Conference

North Texas Annual Conference
June 6-8, Wichita Falls, Texas

The North Texas Conference met June 6-8 in Wichita Falls, Texas. The conference was developed around the principle of "Risk-Taking Mission."

Members overwhelmingly approved a new Strategic Plan that has been more than a year in development. The Rev. Dr. John Fiedler, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Dallas, chaired the Strategic Planning Team. Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe declared his elation with the vote and the spirit in which it was accomplished, personally thanking members for their "willingness to move ahead in a new direction."

The new plan reduces districts from six to four and creates four Centers aligned with the Four Areas of Focus of the United Methodist Church. The overall goal is to redirect ministry and resources to the mission field of the 20-county area served by the conference.

The main ministry coordination body will be a Core Leadership team composed of clergy and lay leaders. Changes take place immediately, and the new districts held organizational gatherings following the vote.

Lay Leader Richard Hearne challenged the conference to "Grow or die" in the annual Laity address, voicing his optimism that the newly approved Strategic Plan can help laity make a difference.

The conference also approved legislation titled "A Resolution to Welcome the Migrant" in accordance with the immigration statements of the 2008 General Conference and Council of Bishops statement of May 2009.

The Rev. Dr. Clara Reed, superintendent of the Sherman-McKinney District, preached for the opening worship at Kay Yeager Coliseum, basing her message on Joshua 1:1-9 in a sermon entitled "Alignment for Divine Assignment."

Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology Dean, Dr. William Lawrence, preached for the Service of Ordination and Commissioning at First UMC in Wichita Falls. Thirty people were ordained and commissioned: 18 elders and one deacon were ordained, four people were commissioned on the deacon track and seven commissioned on the elder track. The grand total budget approved for 2011 was $11,883,286, a reduction of 3.3 percent from 2010.

On June 9, more than 100 people, including conference members, the Extended Cabinet and volunteers of all ages participated in a special Day of Service in Wichita Falls. Other "Risk-Taking Mission" activities included a blood drive, emphasis on Imagine No Malaria, and collection of emergency kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

At the close of 2009, total conference membership was 156,284, a decrease of 1.5 percent; average worship attendance was 59,527, a decrease of 1.3 percent; new members totaled 8,331, a drop of 4.7 percent from 2008; and professions of faith totaled 3,291, an increase of 2.1 percent. Sunday school attendance was 31,449, a decrease of 1.3 percent and Grand Total Paid increased by 3.6 percent to $153,504,481.

Joan G. LaBarr,
Director of Communications