Skip Navigation

2013 Rio Grande Annual Conference

Rio Grande Annual Conference
June 13-15, 2013
University United Methodist Church, San Antonio, Texas
Theme: "Unified to Love to Do God's Mission"

In the 160th year of its origins of ministry, the Rio Grande Annual Conference met at University United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas, June 13-15. Approximately 180 delegates received various reports on the state of the annual conference.

During the 2012 annual session, the conference voted to move into a unification process with its sister San Antonio Episcopal Area conference, Southwest Texas, to create a new conference. Both annual conferences produced a strong mandate to move forward into this process. Because of this action, the Unification Implementation Team was birthed to develop the design of the new conference. During the 2013 area conference sessions, the UIT reported the vision direction and framework of the new conference. Both annual conferences strongly affirmed the proposed name, Rio Texas.

Having received feedback from delegates before and during the annual conference, the UIT will continue in the new conference development work until a special called session, no later than June 2014. At that time, the Rio Grande and Southwest Texas conferences will vote for legal unification to become the Rio Texas Annual Conference. Delegates also approved a transitional structure and elected leaders to manage current program and administrative portfolios jointly and respectively until legal unification occurs.

During a sacred and emotional moment of recognition of ministry and service, delegates approved seven Rio Grande Conference congregations for transfer into the geographical conferences in which these churches reside.

  • La Trinidad UMC, Fort Worth, transferred into the Central Texas Conference
  • El Buen Samaritano UMC, Albuquerque, transferred into the New Mexico Conference
  • San Mateo UMC, Amarillo, transferred into the Northwest Texas Conference
  • Bethel UMC, Abilene, transferred into the Northwest Texas Conference
  • La Trinidad UMC, Lubbock, transferred into the Northwest Texas Conference
  • El Buen Pastor UMC, Tulia, transferred into the Northwest Texas Conference
  • El Divino Salvador UMC, Muleshoe, transferred into the Northwest Texas Conference

The ministry of the clergy was celebrated during a joint service of retirement and ordination as well as the Communion and memorial service.

  • Retiring clergy honored were Francisco Estrada, Roberto L. Gomez and Libny G. Pineda.
  • Bishop Jim Dorff and the Board of Ordained Ministry celebrated the ordination of Raquel Cajiri Feagins as elder in full connection, and Alicia Campos was commissioned into the ministry of elder.
  • Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Annual Conference was the guest preacher for the Communion and memorial service. The Rev. Jesse Gomez and Marisa Barrera, spouse of the Rev. Rodolfo Barrera, were memorialized as accounts of their ministry contributions to the Rio Grande Conference and The United Methodist Church were commemorated.

Primary business items were:

  • The annual conference affirmed to elect its delegation for the 2016 General Conference and jurisdictional conference during the 2014 annual conference session.
  • All four United Methodist Church Constitutional amendments coming from the 2012 General Conference and proposed to the annual conferences for vote were affirmed.
  • The annual conference approved the Commission on Equitable Compensation's proposal of a 7.5 percent increase for minimum compensation for active clergy for 2014 as well as the establishment of a pastor-compensation arrearage policy.
  • Delegates approved a total budget of $1,437,513, of which $703,266 is apportioned to local churches, a decreased apportioned amount of $ 25,772 from the previous year.

In light of the unification process, the annual conference agreed to refer decision for date and location to the agenda committee in consultation with the Southwest Texas Conference for the 2014 annual conference session.


  • Conference membership, 13,087, down 476 from the previous year
  • Worship attendance, 4,224, down 256
  • Church school attendance, 1,789, down 12.

- Abel Vega Jr., director of connectional ministries