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2014 Southwest Texas Conference

June 12-14, 2014 in Corpus Christi, Texas

Name of conference:

Southwest Texas Conference                                    

Dates of conference gathering:

June 12-14

Location of conference gathering:

American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas

Officiating bishop:

Bishop Jim Dorff

Guest speakers:

The Rev. Ruben Saenz, executive director of New Church Development and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Conference

Memorable points or quotes by speakers:

“For the church, in this part of God’s world, there are so many places where there is devastation all around us,” said Bishop Jim Dorff. “So many places. Maybe right next door to you. And the gospel has something to say, no matter where it is. We’ve got to speak all over this area.

“And I want to tell you this: When you feel like you’ve been tossed aside, just know you’re not going to break. And beyond that, when you come to realize that you have not been broken then you know what to say. There is a message.

“If that place can speak, if the gospel of Jesus Christ can be heard in this place, with that kind of new birth after that kind of death, it can be heard any place.”

“So much is riding on us joining together in a missional way to try new things with new people, to open our doors, to welcome the other, the strangers, and to find new ways to reach people who are not historically a part of who we are,” said the Rev. Ruben Saenz, executive director of New Church Development and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Conference. “And as we do so we will launch a movement that goes beyond us, a movement that goes to Louisiana and Arkansas and Missouri and Georgia and North Carolina and Alabama and the northwest and east coast and west coast.

“Let’s let the Spirit show us the way so that we, in turn, can lead the way for those who are asking the very same questions that we now ask.”

“Somehow walking together into that deeper, deeper water, walking toward and with Jesus, with my sisters and brothers, it makes the journey a little bit easier,” said the Rev. Marcus Freeman, former pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church, San Antonio, and new director of clergy development for the Southwest Texas Conference and Río Texas Conference, beginning in January. “You never know what’s going to happen when you go out there deeper with Jesus.

“Gong to deeper water with our hearts and minds and hands open can be very shaky and very scary, indeed. Eye has not seen, neither has ear heard what God has in store for those who love Him. God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we could ask or think.”

Main actions enacted and resolutions adopted by the conference:

Delegates passed the standing rules and also approved a budget for the new Río Texas Conference.

Name of delegates elected to 2016 General Conference and jurisdictional or central conferences (if applicable):

Southwest Texas Conference delegates to General Conference include:

Teresa Welborn (clergy)

Laura Merrill (clergy)

Eradio Valverde (clergy)

Carl Rohlfs (clergy)
Teresa Keese (lay)

Ralph Thompson (lay)

Carol Loeb (lay)

Jay Brim (lay)

Southwest Texas Conference delegates to Jurisdictional Conference include:

Russell Miller (clergy)

Austin Frederick (clergy)

Tom Deviney (clergy)

Paul Escamilla (clergy)

Aislinn Deviney (lay)

Rachel Wright (lay)

Byrd Bonner (lay)

Lawrence Harrison (lay)

Abigail Parker Herrera (clergy alternate)

Terrence Hayes (clergy alternate)

Leslie Tomlinson (clergy alternate)

Sean Raybuck (lay alternate)

Rick Mantooth (lay alternate)

Michael Sweatner (lay alternate)

Number of lay delegates to General Conference: 4.

Number of clergy delegates to General Conference: 4.

Number of lay delegates to jurisdictional conference. 4.

Number of clergy delegates to jurisdictional conference. 4.

Number of lay reserve delegate: 3.

Number of clergy reserve delegate: 3.

Clergy statistics (number and average age for totals of each group):

Provisional deacon: 8 (48 years old).

Ordained deacon:  25 (54 years old). 

Provisional elder:  16  (40 years old).

Ordained elder:  241 (53 years old)

Received into associate membership: 11 (63 years old).

Licensed local pastors: 107 (52 years old).

Retired: 261 (75 years old).

Remembered at memorial service (may also include laity). 31.

Conference statistics:

Membership stands at 114,990, down 2,055 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 44,865, down 1,128.

Church school attendance stands at 16,007, down 599.

Professions of faith stand at 2,208, down 208.

Baptisms stand a 1,502.

— Submitted by Thomas Monahan, director of communications, Southwest Texas Conference