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2016 New Mexico Conference


Name of conference: New Mexico Annual Conference

Location of conference gathering: Roswell, New Mexico

Dates of conference gathering: June 2-4, 2016

Officiating bishop: Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe

Guest speaker: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Memorable points or quotes by speakers:

“The conference theme is ‘Growing in the Fullness of Christ’ or… it’s time to grow up! Amen?” — Bishop Earl Bledsoe

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh asked for prayers to heal the streets of Roswell. We prayed.

“We are great visionaries and pretty good doers, but as an annual conference we have trouble connecting the vision to the doing. We need to connect the two in order to get from here to there. Failure to link the vision to the execution implies that there are not enough people involved. We have to create a culture where people want to get involved.” — The Rev. Randall Partin, provost

“If a vision isn’t a little scary, it probably doesn’t need God.” — The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter

“So what?” — The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter

“Listen and, with fuller knowledge and understanding, we reply. Perhaps the space between the first and the fourth time the Lord called Samuel — the sacred. The Lord used it so he might gain fuller knowledge and understanding and THEN was able to reply, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” — Bishop Cynthia Harvey

“Come and See! So they went and they saw.” — Bishop Cynthia Harvey

“If you invite the willing, you have fertile ground for ministry.” — Lisa Greenwood, TMF (formerly the Texas Methodist Foundation)

Main actions enacted by the conference:

Discontinued three churches: First United Methodist Church-Marathon, Goldsmith United Methodist Church and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church-Odessa

Four new clergy were commissioned/ordained for ministry in the New Mexico Conference

Resolutions adopted by the conference:

Proposed Rule Change re: Tenure (CSPP III.D.8)

Conference Nominations Team

Tenure: The tenure of individuals on conference boards, commissions, or committees shall be limited to two consecutive quadrennia. The tenure for individuals on all committees and committees elected by classes shall be limited to eight (8) consecutive years. Chairpersons and age-level coordinators may serve two (2) quadrennia. In compliance with the Book of Discipline, ¶639.2, members of the Board of Pensions are elected to a term of eight (8) years. A member of the Board of Pensions any conference board, commission, or committee who has developed a particular expertise may serve in an advisory/training capacity for one (1) additional quadrennium. Exception: An elected member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry may serve a maximum of three (3) consecutive four-year terms

Proposed Rules Change re: Unspent Budgeted Funds (CSPP IV.B.20)

Council on Finance and Administration

Unspent Budgeted Funds: Funds available at the end of the calendar year that were budgeted for the program of any of the conference boards or agencies, but were unspent during the fiscal year shall be transferred to the Stabilization Fund, with the following exceptions: Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, Equitable Compensation Fund, Episcopal Residence Fund, Delegate Expense Fund, Legal Fund, Ministerial Education Fund, Campus Ministry and Higher Education Fund, New Church Development Fund, the New Cabinet Member(s) Moving/Training Fund and up to a cumulative total carry-over of $25,000 for the Equipping Ministries Team and up to a cumulative total carry-over of $15,000 for the Annual Conference Planning Team.


Per recommendation of the Provost and action of Council on Finance and Administration, the annual conference planning team will move away from a shared ministries-funded model of annual conference and rely instead on registration fees only to cover the cost of our annual meeting. For planning purposes, the ability to have reserves that we can draw from allows for flexibility in planning meetings multiple years in advance (for example, we are already in negotiations for our 2018 meeting

Act of Repentance

The session began with an Act of Repentance.

  • The Rev. Jon Moore moved that the churches of the New Mexico Conference be challenged to raise and give to the conference office $5 per average worship attender for participation in annual conference by Four Corners Native American Ministries churches. Motion seconded and passed.
  • The Rev. Matt Bridges committed First United Methodist Church, Lovington to fully funding the cost of one person (and more if able) from Four Corners Native American Ministries to come to the 2017 Annual Conference. The proposal was accepted.

What did your annual conference do to reinforce the Four Areas of Focus, and what commitments has the conference made for the coming year:

Vital Congregations:

  • More than 20 churches have participated in some/all of the Healthy Church Initiative.
  • Churches participated in “Choosing the Faithful Path,” which is a way to explore where your church is in the life cycle of a church.
  • One Matters Award Recipients — Growth in professions of faith and baptisms.
  • Honored extension ministries
  • Continued work throughout the Conference in “Creating a Culture of Renewal”
  • “Movementum” Seminars on creating discipleship pathways for churches
  • Created a stronger disaster preparedness & relief program for the conference

Developing Leaders:

  • Conference subsidized Coaching4Clergy opportunities. Currently, the conference has 17 certified coaches with more training opportunities planned for the fall.
  • Growing Certified Lay Ministry Roster — 10 this year
  • Added “Early Bird Workshops” to the annual conference schedule to inform and educate our clergy and laity.
  • Invited an informational speaker to discuss laity leadership ideas during our Laity Address
  • Active Lay Servant Ministry Training program
  • Active Wesley Programs at University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, Eastern New Mexico University, Satellite-Roswell, Sul Ross State University

Ministering to the Poor:

  • Eight Cinco Estrella Award Recipients
  • Growing number of free food pantries across the conference

Global Health:

  • Ministry with Santa Elena Mission in Mexico
  • Ministry in Hungary
  • Support of missionaries and orphanage in South Congo.

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age: Four (average age — 47)

Number of people retired: Six

Membership stands at 32,404, down 1,037 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 12,214, down 857.

Church school attendance stands at 4,293, down 42.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2015: 483, up from 2014: 42.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2015: 8,012, up from 2014: 395.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2015: 5,925, up from 2014: 19.

Source: Alli J. Costello, communications director