Upcoming Chapter Meetings – Mark Your Calendars

February 9 – We will hear an update from the Local Church Action Team, the Southwest Texas Conference Reconciling Ministries Team on their notable activities.

March 8 – The program will be brought to us by Jay Brim, the SWTX Conference Lay Leader and a delegate to General Conference, on the foremost issues to be addressed by GC2012 in Tampa.

April 12 – We will be “gearing up” for General Conference, so we will not have a chapter meeting, but will encourage members to attend the FUMC Reconciling Service featuring Rev. Amy Delong, previously mentioned.

General Conference 2012 – Tampa, FL

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church meets every four years (quadrennium). Legislative changes are recorded in The Book of Discipline which is revised after each General Conference.  Non-legislative resolutions are recorded in the Book of Resolutions, which is published after each General Conference, and expire after eight years unless passed again by a subsequent session of General Conference.  The last General Conference was held in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008.  The next General Conference will be April 25-May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

The UM General Conference essentially sets all policies and direction of the denomination.  There currently exist certain aspects of the denomination’s policies that are opposed by progressive groups such as MFSA.  The General Conference in Tampa will be the place where such policies are changed or retained.

Once again the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and Affirmation will be coordinating housing and volunteer activities. Many plans are still being worked out.  Volunteer opportunities abound for progressive United Methodists who are committed to justice and are willing/able to attend General Conference in Florida.

Some SWTX members are planning to attend all or portions of General Conference.  If you are interested in attending or volunteering, go to the websites below or contact rcurry@austin.rr.com.

For more information, go to www.gc12.org, www.rmnetwork.org or www.mfsaweb.org.

May MFSA Meeting Will Focus on Possible Unification of SWTX and Rio Grande Conferences

Did you know that there are two Methodist Churches in Austin–Govalle & Emmanuel– that are not part of the Southwest Texas Conference of the UMC?  They are part of about 80 United Methodist Churches in Texas and New Mexico that are the Rio Grande Conference of the UMC.  Bishop Dorff is working with a Unification Steering Team to examine how these conferences can unify.  This statement by Bishop Dorff summarizes the efforts.

“At our last Annual Conference Sessions, the theme of my Episcopal Address was “Now is the Time.” Little did I know how accurate that thought would become.  In mid-July, the leadership of both the Rio Grande and the Southwest Texas conferences agreed to move forward with the recommendations of the consulting team we had asked to assess and report to us regarding their view of our future.  The most important of those recommendations was the creation of one new conference in the current San Antonio Episcopal Area.  Furthermore, they also recommended that the conference sessions of June 2012 decide whether or not to commit ourselves to this task.  It appears that “Now is the Time.”  Read more about this process at http://www.onepeopleumc.org/

SWTX Annual Conference Luncheon – Corpus Christi – June 2012

Planning is under way for our Second Annual Peace and Justice Luncheon at the Southwest Texas Annual Conference in Corpus Christi, TX June 7 – 10.  The inaugural luncheon in 2011 attracted about 150 persons to hear Dr. Joerg Rieger of Perkins School of Theology.  The luncheon was a cooperative effort by our MFSA chapter, the Conference Board of Church and Society, and the conference’s Reconciling Ministries Team.

Details of the event are still tentative, but we have received a speaking commitment from a very well-known Methodist – Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the UMC General Board of Church and Society.

Our SWTX Chapter is also planning to once again sponsor an exhibit that will include MFSA information, an expanded display of the Shower of Stoles, and our traditional book fair (so start saving books).