`Rio Texas Conference’ to be name of unified Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences

Byrd Bonner

The unified Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences of the United Methodist Church will go by the name “Rio Texas Conference.”

The team charged with implementing unification of the conferences chose the name in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, and announced it today.

Byrd Bonner, a Southwest Texas Conference layman and co-chair of the Unification Implementation Team, said the decision came after “an amazing discernment process,” drawing on input from around both conferences.

“Rio Texas Conference” reflects the two current names and also suggests “living water” through “Rio,” which is Spanish for “river”, Mr. Bonner said.

He added that “Rio Texas Conference” will be easily understood.

“It’s a name that you don’t have to explain every time you say it,” Mr. Bonner said.

The Rev. Robert Lopez, the other co-chair of the team and Bishop James Dorff of the San Antonio Episcopal Area joined Mr. Bonner in a video announcement of the decision.

Mr. Bonner said by phone that the implementation team started the name-choosing process in January, publicizing a request for suggestions through pastors, lay leaders and Sunday school classes.

More than 80 individuals or groups suggested names, he said.

The conferences voted last summer to unify, a decision approved by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference.

The primarily Hispanic Rio Grande Conference faced questions about its long-term financial sustainability, and the primarily Caucasian Southwest Texas Conference faced “demographic sustainability” questions in the mission field, given that its area has become heavily Hispanic, Mr. Bonner said.

The target date for full legal unification of the conferences is Jan. 1, 2015, but Mr. Bonner said the hope is that the conferences will “act functionally” as one by this summer or at least by the first of the year.

“It’s a powerful journey,” he said of the unification process. “We work so well together. …. The name is really important.”

 

Sam Hodges, Former Managing Editor, UMR

Sam Hodges

Sam Hodges was the managing editor of The United Methodist Reporter from 2011-2013. A formee reporter for the Dallas Morning News and the Charlotte Observer, Sam is a respected voice in United Methodist journalism.

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3 Comments on "`Rio Texas Conference’ to be name of unified Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conferences"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Mark E. Thompson
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I am looking for a United Methodist Church online publication that gives a history of the “Walk To Emmaus”

luis orozco
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I thank God and the Rio Grande Conference for taken me as “faithful to the ministry” since 1981 as an immigrant “with papers” from Mexico city. I served with joy always confirming my call. I moved to Northwest Texas Conference, New Mexico Conference back to Rio Grande Conference and moving back and forth in the three Conferences. The good pastor, Jesus said, “and they will leave and come back and they find good pastures.” I was one of those, pastor and sheep at the same time moving around. Muchas Gracias Rio Grande, Northwest Texas, and New Mexico Conferences ffor being… Read more »
REV. RENE LEDESMA
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i STARTED AS “PRE. MIN. STUDENT IN EL PASO, TEXAS; APPOINTED MINISTRY STARTED IN THE MEXICAN MISSION (TULIA, TX.) WITH 3 MEMBERS IN AN OLD HOUSE FROM FIRST; IN 6 YEARS: DEVELOPED A 108 FULL MEMBERSHIP, BUILT A CHURCH WITH EDUCATIONAL BUILDING AND 3 BEDROOM PARSONAGE ON 4 CITY LOTS: CHANGED FROM PERKINS TO CLAREMONT S. T., -DR. PROGRAM. RETIRED IN 2008 AFTER 41 YEARS IN VARIED APPOINTMENTS INCLUDING ASSISTANT GENERAL SECRETARY. GENERAL BOARD OF GLOBAL MINISTRIES (DR. TRACY JONES). ; COMMUNITY CENTERS ADMINISTRATION; ARIZONA METRO MINISTRIES; LOCAL CHURCHES, ETC. “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL…” AND I LEFT MY… Read more »
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