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2012 Northwest Texas Annual Conference

Northwest Texas Annual Conference
May 31-June 2, Lubbock, Texas

The Northwest Texas Annual Conference took time in its 103rd session to honor and celebrate the service of Bishop Max Whitfield and wife, Valerie.

Bishop Whitfield has served the New Mexico Episcopal Area, which includes the Northwest Texas Conference, for 12 years. He will retire this year and begin serving as Bishop in Residence at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology in September.

A western-themed dinner was held in his honor featuring special music and presentations from colleagues, friends and family.

During Whitfield's 12 years of service, he helped the conference reconnect and heal, said the Rev. Bill Couch.

"He helped us to listen to one another rather than talk at each other," Couch said.

The bishop's brother, Charles, shared stories of the brothers' childhood, giving insight to the man behind the title of bishop.

"We are proud of you and the ministry you have done" Charles Whitfield said.

In honor of Bishop and Valerie Whitfield's' work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, specifically at the Mulungwishi Seminary, the New Mexico and Northwest Texas conferences established The Bishop D. Max and Valerie Whitfield Seminary Scholarship Fund. The goal is to raise more than $100,000 to endow a permanent scholarship that would last for generations.

The theme of the 2012 Annual Conference was "Disciple: Follow, Lead."

Conference teacher the Rev. Jorge Acevedo discussed team ministry and making disciples.

"Our world desperately needs team ministry," Acevedo said. Too many preachers and laity are operating under Heroic Solo Leader Syndrome (leading by themselves). Building a ministry based on HSLS is not good for the leader, followers, church or the expansion of God's kingdom, Acevedo said.

When suffering from HSLS, one shows symptoms of chronic fatigue, success that depends on one or few working independently, a lack of innovation in making disciples, a tendency to overcommit and not repeat past successes as well as little, if any, accountability and high frustration.

The Bible teaches team ministry, he said, pointing to the examples of Jesus and the disciples as well as Paul and his missionary team. Our Methodist heritage also models team ministry, he said.
It's time for United Methodists to be a team and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world as a team, Acevedo said.
Whitfield encouraged the conference to go out and make disciples, guiding them as they follow Jesus and as they become leaders reaching out to others.

Members approved a resolution allowing for changes in the episcopacy residence should it be needed, and the 2013 budget was approved.

Ordained as elders in full connection were the Revs. Martin Kyle Brock, Pamela Templeton Lehman, Dustin Roy McEwen and Ryan S. Strebeck.

Commissioned as provisional elders in full connection were David Weldon Andersen, the Rev. Curtis Robert Borden and the Rev. Ross Gregory Whiteaker.

Recognized as an associate member was the Rev. Karan Ann Young.

Membership stands at 62,683 down from 63,379 the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 19,523, up 144 from last year. Church school attendance stands at 10,401, down from 10,632 in 2010.

- Karla Abernethy-Thetford, area director of communications