2017 Rio Texas Annual Conference
The Rio Texas Conference met in Corpus Christi, Texas, June 7-10, Bishop Robert Schnase presiding.
The conference theme was “Focus on Fruitfulness.”
Bishop Schnase’s annual address celebrated and shared stories of fruitful ministry, including those that have seen rapid growth in worship attendance, membership and baptism. He provided examples from low-income neighborhoods, and also pointed to ministry centers that are repurposing properties to meet community needs.
The Rev. Adam Hamilton of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection led three teaching sessions.
Some quotes from Rev. Hamilton:
“The church's challenge isn’t that people have stopped looking for meaning in their lives. They're just looking in different places.”
“The church that reached new generations in the 80's is not the same church that will reach them today.”
"If you don't like a big church, you're going to hate Heaven."
"The lectionary doesn't know what's happening in your congregation."
"People don't become Christians because of your theological superiority. They become Christians because you cared for them."
The conference was also blessed by powerful preaching from Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference. Among his observations: “If you don't want to hear what God has to say, don't say, "Speak, Lord," because God will blow your mind.”
The conference was also led in worship by two amazing Rio Texas preachers: retiring District Superintendent Rev. Carl Rohlfs and Rev. Lupina Villalpando Stewart of Northern Hills United Methodist Church in San Antonio.
The conference adopted a new Child, Youth and Vulnerable Adults Safety Policy.
Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age:
7 Ordained Elders – Average Age: 45
7 Commissioned Provisional Elders – Average Age: 36
1 Commissioned Provisional Deacon –Age: 39
1 Received as Associate Member – Age: 67
Number of people retired: 31
Membership stands at 115,289, down 4,466 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 43,666, down 1,272 from the previous year.
Church school attendance stands at 16,000, down 231 from the previous year.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2016: 2,084, down 258 from 2015.
Adults and young adults in small groups for 2016: 30,016, down 2.182 from 2015.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2016: 24,653, up 5,939 from 2015
Will Rice, Director of Communications and Media Support, Rio Texas Conference.