Episcopal Announcements

Commission on a Way Forward Report Translations Released

July 31, 2018
The Final Report of the Commission on a Way Forward as sent to the Council of Bishops for presentation to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference has been released in English, French, Portuguese and Swahili - the four official languages of General Conference. Click here or the title above to read more and access the translations.

 

Council of Bishops Amends Call for 2019 Special Session of General Conference

July 9, 2018

The Council of Bishops (COB) has amended its call for the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, Missouri. The decision to amend its call comes in response to Judicial Council Decision 1360, which was handed down on May 25. Click here or the title above for details. 

 

Texas Bishops Issue Joint Statement on U.S. Immigration Policy of Separating Families

June 20, 2018
The Bishops of the five Annual Conferences in Texas issued a joint statement today commending President Trump for signing an executive order ending his administration policy of separating families caught entering the country illegally along the U.S.-Mexico border. Each bishop also urged their conferences and faithful Christians everywhere to contact their U.S. representative and senators and continue to press for legislation that will keep children with their parents. Click here or the title above to read more. 
 

Bishops Urge Judicial Council to Restrict Petition to 2019 General Conference

May 23, 2018

The Council of Bishops is urging the Judicial Council to declare that the business of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church be “limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward” as stated in the April 24, 2017, call. Speaking of behalf of the bishops, Immediate Past President Bishop Bruce R. Ough urged the court to answer the question in negative. Bishop Scott Jones, spoke against the bishops’ case contending that anyone should be allowed to submit a petition to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. Click here or the title above to read full details.

 

Bishop Lowry Share his Thoughts on the Failure of Proposed Amendments I & II and the CTC's Commitment to Gender Equality

May 15, 2018
In a short video, Bishop Lowry shares his thoughts and angst over the failed proposed amendments and joins the Council of Bishops and the female bishops of the UMC, who issued a pastoral letter noting their renewed commitment to ensure that all people are treated with respect, compassion and grace, in calling on Christians in the Central Texas Conference and everywhere to recommit to the fullest sense of what it means to ethically live under the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Visit ctcumc.org/BishopLowry_Amendments-GenderEquality or click on the title above to access his video message.

 

Special offering to be received April 29 for cyclone relief in Tonga.

April 6, 2018 (Updated May 9)
Bishop Lowry and the Cabinet are calling upon the churches of the Central Texas Conference to receive a special offering to support Cyclone (Hurricane) Relief efforts in Tonga. The Kingdom of Tonga was devastated by Cyclone Gita in February, and recovery efforts are in desperate need of support. While Cyclone Gita Relief was to be a co-recipient of the Central Texas Annual Conference 2018 Offering, it was decided that the need was too great and immediate. Churches are asked to receive a special offering in support of Cyclone Gita Relief on April 29 – or on another Sunday as close to that date as possible. Visit ctcumc.org/CycloneGita-SpecialOffering or click on the title above for more information

 

COB Announces Vote Results of Five Constitutional Amendments

Bishops Dismayed Over Failure of Proposal I and II to Receive Required Two-Thirds Majority

May 7, 2018
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has completed canvassing the votes of annual conferences on the five constitutional amendments that were approved by the 2016 General Conference. While Proposals I and II failed to get the required two-thirds majority vote, Proposals III, IV and V did get at least 66.67 percent of the vote and will become effective immediately. In reaction to the results, the Council of Bishops expressed dismay that proposed amendments I and II had failed. “While we are not completely clear concerning the motivation that caused them to miss the two-thirds required majority by slim margins, we want to be clear that we are unequivocal in our commitment to the equality of women and their full inclusion in our Church,” said the Council statement. 
 
Visit ctcumc.org//COB_Amendments2018 or click on the title above for more information on the voting totals, the COBs reaction and a letter from the female bishops regarding proposals I and II.
 

UMC Bishops Recommend the One Church Plan as A Way Forward

May 4, 2018
United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward. At the conclusion of the discernment process and guided by the mission, vision and scope document, the bishops agreed to recommend the One Church Plan. This plan provides conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context while retaining the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.
 
Click on the title above to read much more about the COBs recommendation to the Special Session of General Conference in 2019. 
 

 

UMC Bishops Honor & Remember Rev. Dr. James Cone

May 1, 2018
United Methodist bishops are honoring and remembering the legacy of the Rev. Dr. James Cone. Dr. Cone, who passed away April 28, was most recently the Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary.
 
In a letter to Union Theological Seminary President Serene Jones, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church thanked the Rev. Dr. Cone for his work that introduced an integrated theological perspective born in the crucible of struggle and oppression within the United States of America and read the gospel as a mandate to understand Christ as liberator.
 
To read more, including the full letter from the COB, click the title above or go to ctcumc.org/JamesCone_memorial.
 

 

UMC Bishops Act on Three Major Issues at Spring Meeting in Chicago

April 24, 2018
The Bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet in Chicago from April 29-May 4 to celebrate leadership through the passing of the gavel, certify constitutional amendments and finalize their recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. The April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops will also hear leadership reports regarding immigration, ecumenical relations, racism, disaster relief and other mission and ministry work around the global denomination. To read more about the spring COB meeting, click here or the title above.
 

 

Bishops Seek Declaratory Decision from Judicial Council on Special Session

April 10, 2018
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on what petitions can be submitted to the denomination’s Special Session of General Conference called for February 2019. To help facilitate a timely decision from the Judicial Council, the bishops also voted to ask the Judicial Council to convene a special meeting to address the request for a declaratory decision and any others that might arise from the upcoming April/May Council of Bishops meeting.
 
“The intent is to resolve the question of whether additional petitions, beyond the report of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops, can be submitted to the Special 2019 General Conference prior to the convening of the Special General Conference,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops.
 
 

Commission on a Way Forward Addresses Values, Concerns and Feedback from COB in Updated Way Forward Sketches

March 1, 2018
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church came together earlier this week (Feb.25-28) with the primary purpose of receiving the most recent report from the Commission on A Way Forward. After receiving the report, the Council discussed, debated and Holy conferenced about the report in executive session. “The work of the Commission on A Way Forward is deeply appreciated – personally and I believe by all my fellow bishops,” stated Bishop Lowry. “I continue to relish your prayers for the Council of Bishops, the Commission on A Way Forward and the future of the United Methodist Church. As we collectively continue this journey and beyond, may we always walk with Christ.” Click here or the title link above to read a summary of the sketches presented and more from the COB.

 

UMC Leaders Respond to #MeToo & #ChurchToo Movement

Jan. 24, 2018

Bishop Bruch Ough, president of the UMC Council of Bishops (COB), Bishop Tracy Malone, president of the board for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women of the UMC (COSROW), and Dawn Wiggins Hare, general secretary of COSROW, respond to the #MeToo & #ChurchToo social media movements by reaffirming core UMC beliefs and committing to lead the church in prevention and healing in this area. Please click here or the title above to read the full letter.

 

The Commission on A Way Forward Prepares Its Updated Report to the Council of Bishops

Jan. 18, 2018
The Commission on a Way Forward is nearing the completion of its task of making recommendations of possible ways forward for The United Methodist Church regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in this global denomination. The 32-member Commission has reworked sketches of possible models of the future of the denomination that will be part of the final report to the Council of Bishops in May. Bishop Mike Lowry commended the work done by the Commission, but was quick to remind that the mission of the church must and will continue no matter what comes from the COWF or the called General Conference in 2019. “The work done by the Commission is very much appreciated, especially when gaged against such a complex, sensitive and important issue. Along with my fellow bishops, I eagerly await their final recommendation. However, let me urgently remind that our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ remains paramount. We simply cannot let this or any other issue distract our focus from supporting, growing and building vital, vibrant faith communities.”  Click on the title above to read more.

 

The Council of Bishops Condemns President Trump's Remarks Against Immigrants

Jan. 12, 2018
In a letter to all United Methodists, The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church called President Trump's recent remarks about immigrants from African countries and Haiti insulting, derogatory, offensive, harmful and racist. The COB called upon all
Christians, but especially United Methodists, to condemn the president's characterization and further call for President Trump to apologize. Click the title link above to read the entire letter.

 

Bishop Lowry's Christmas 2017 Message

Dec. 10, 2017
Bishop Mike Lowry shares a brief message of joy and peace and hope for Christmas. Quoting from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verse 10, Bishop Lowry reminds us that today, just as it was on that glorious day more than 2000 years ago, we are to greet the arrival of the Christ child with great joy, for the savior of all has been born!

 

Bishop Lowry's Message for Advent 2017

Dec. 7, 2017
Bishop Lowry shares a video message of hope for a broken and battered world - a hope that comes in the form of a baby at Christmas

 

COB Releases Finding a Way Forward Handbook

Dec. 12, 2017
Resources for Witness, Contextual Leadership and Unity provides resources, other materials from the Commission on a Way Forward
Last month, the Council of Bishops (COB) released a statement regarding an interim report shared by the Commission on a Way Forward (CoWF) during the council’s November meetings. The interim report offered three preliminary sketches of models that could provide a way forward for The United Methodist Church help ease the impasse in the church regarding human sexuality and LGBTQ inclusion. After receiving the sketches of the three possible models, the bishops engaged in prayerful discerning and offered substantial feedback to the Commission, but did not take a vote on any of the sketches presented in the interim report.
 
In its release, the COB committed to providing a booklet that shares resources the Commission on a Way Forward used as part of its preparations for the interim report to the COB and will continue to use going forward. The booklet is now available to read/download in a PDF format.

 

Council of Bishops Receives & Reacts to Commission on a Way Forward's Interim Report

Nov. 9, 2017

Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality, the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion. After receiving the interim report of the sketches of the three possible models, the bishops engaged in prayerful discerning and offered substantial feedback to the Commission, but did not take any vote on any of the sketches. The Commission and the COB are not restricted to these sketches and are open to learning, listening and improvement. It is likely that additional models or sketches may emerge as this process continues. Click on title above to read more.

 

COB Calls on Churches to Observe Global Migration Sunday on The First Sunday of Advent

Oct 12, 2017
Bishop Bruce Ough, President, UMC Council of Bishops, writing on behalf of the Council of Bishops, is calling on United Methodist Churches to observe Global Migration Sunday on the first Sunday of Advent - Dec. 3, 2017. You may read Bishop Ough's letter in its entirety by clicking the title link above. Following Bishop Ough's letter is a link to an animated video called "The Migrant" produced by United Methodist Communications.
 

Thank You to CTC Churches for Generous Response to Hurricane Relief Special Offering

Oct. 4, 2017
In September, in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Bishop Lowry called for the churches of the Central Texas Conference to take up a special offering to support UMCOR’s Hurricane Relief efforts. As expected, the response has been excellent and Bishop Lowry would like to simply say thank you – to you, to your leadership and to your congregation. Click here on the title above to view or download the brief video message.
 

Reflections on the Pending UMC Judicial Council Decision

April 25, 2017
Bishop Mike Lowry and Central Texas Conference Lay Leader Mike Ford write to the clergy and lay leadership of the CTC in hopes of providing them with the necessary information and context regarding the pending Judicial Council ruling on the validity of the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto. As you may recall, Bishop Karen Oliveto was elected and consecrated a United Methodist bishop in July by delegates of the Western Jurisdictional Conference. Bishop Oliveto, an elder in good standing at the time of her election, is a partner in a same-sex marriage. At the time of the election, the South Central Jurisdictional Conference petitioned the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision about the validity of her election.

 

COB reaches out to Coptic Orthodox Church following Palm Sunday terrorist attacks

April 13, 2017
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is grieving with the Coptic Orthodox Church over the recent terrorist bombings that targeted Coptic churches in Egypt, killing at least 47 people as members celebrated Palm Sunday. In a letter sent to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St. Mark, The United Methodist Church bishops expressed sincere sympathy with the Christian brothers and sisters. Read the full letter at ctcumc.org/COB-UMCmournsCopticChurch.

 

Texas Bishops Respond to POTUS' Executive Order on Immigration

Feb. 3, 2017
Bishop Lowry and the other four United Methodist bishops of Texas call for "a more compassionate response to immigrants and refugees" in an open letter in response to President Trump's recent Executive Order/Action on immigration, which bans anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days.

 

Bishop Lowry Announces New Cabinet and Conference Executive Staff Members

Jan. 8, 2017
After much thought and even more prayer, hours of conversations with conference leadership, thought leaders and candidates and with a steadfast focus on the CTCSC’s mission to energize and equip the local churches of the Central Texas Conference so that they can make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, Bishop Lowry has announced that, effective July 1, Dr. Clifton Howard and Rev. Mike Ramsdell will join the Conference Service Center Executive Leadership Team and Revs. Brad Brittain, Ben Disney and Travis Franklin will be appointed as District Superintendents to the South, East and North Districts respectively.

 

COB Offers Post-Election Congratulations & Prayers to President-Elect Trump

Nov. 9, 2016
In a congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, Council president Bishop Bruce R. Ough sent a prayer and a plea for the nation to come together. Gathered at St. Simons Island last week for their fall meeting, the bishops signed a Bible that will be presented to President-elect Trump following his inauguration in a tradition that dates back to the very first president of the United States when Bishop Francis Asbury presented a Bible to George Washington in 1789.
 

Young Adults can now apply to join Bishop Lowry on a pilgrimage to Scotland. 

Nov. 1, 2016
Following the powerful experience of their 2015 visit to Taize, France, Dr. Larry Duggins and Bishop Lowry have again signed on to lead a small group of young adults on a pilgrimage of introspection and transformation. This time the journey will take them to Iona, Scotland and run from May 25 – June 3, 2017. The ideal applicant is 18-29 years old, considering a call to ordained or lay ministry, attends church in the Central Texas Conference and demonstrates leadership in the church, school and/or community. The cost is $750 and covers airfare, ground transportation, breakfast, dinner and lodging. Those interested can learn more about and apply for trip at missionalwisdom.com/about/pilgrimage. Applications will be received until November 30, and pilgrims will be selected during December. Please visit ctcumc.org/IonaPilgrimage for more.
 

Bishop Ough Makes First Presidential Address to Council of Bishops

Nov. 4
In his first presidential address to the Council of Bishops, Bishop Bruce R. Ough brought the bishops alternately to their knees in prayer and to their feet in resounding applause as he laid out a message of unity to a new Council. Bishop Ough said the time together was designed to engage the bishops in exploring how the Council can lead in a time when "the entire United Methodist Church is holding its breath," and urged them to build and model unity within their own body.
 

Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019

Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019 - See more at: http://www.ctcumc.org/COB_GC19#sthash.jrRsdDyl.dpuf
Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019 - See more at: http://www.ctcumc.org/COB_GC19#sthash.jrRsdDyl.dpuf
Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019 - See more at: http://www.ctcumc.org/COB_GC19#sthash.jrRsdDyl.dpuf
Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019 - See more at: http://www.ctcumc.org/COB_GC19#sthash.jrRsdDyl.dpuf
Council of Bishops to Call for Special General Conference in 2019 - See more at: http://www.ctcumc.org/COB_GC19#sthash.jrRsdDyl.dpuf
Nov. 1
Through an affirmative vote at their fall meeting, The United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March 2019 and asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The Council’s action stops short of making the actual call for a special session, which is expected to come at some point after the Commission on a Way Forward begins its work.

 

United Methodist Bishops of Texas Respond to Texas' Intention to Withdraw from Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

September 23, 2016

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement regarding Texas’ intention to withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program, the United Methodist bishops of Texas have issued a statement calling on the governor to seek a way to affirm the worth of all humankind. Click here to read the full statement.

 

A Statement from the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops

Monday July 18, 2016
Following the conclusion of the 2016 South Central Jurisdictional Conference, the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops issued the following statement on its commitment to actively support the request by General Conference to form and lead a commission to consider the Discipline's position on Human Sexuality. Click here to read the statement in its entirety.

 

Bishop Lowry Calls on CTC to Pause and Pray Following Deadly Shootings of Police in Dallas

Friday, July 8, 2016
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has asked that a moment of silence be observed at noon today (Friday, July 8) and he has invited any and all to gather at Thanksgiving Square in Dallas at noon to pray for the victims of last night’s deadly shootings in Dallas and their families. Bishop Lowry is calling on all members of the Central Texas Conference to join in this time of prayer.
 
“I would like every Methodist in the Central Texas Conference to honor Mayor Rawlings’ request and stop and pray for the victims of last night’s horrific acts of violence in Dallas,” Bishop Lowry said early this morning. “I want us to pray for the police, their families, the people of Dallas. I want us to pray for everyone.”
 
Bishop Lowry also reminded that as the grace-filled followers of Jesus Christ, we must continue to reject the forces of hatred, racism, fear, violence and anger in favor of the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, patience, kindness and peace as described by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians [Galatians 5:22-23].
 
“I can not stress strongly enough how important it is for us to remember that we are followers of the Prince of Peace,” Bishop Lowry pronounced. “Anger and violence must be laid aside.”
 
“Black lives matter to God. Police lives matter to God. All lives matter to the God who gave us his only Son so that we might all have everlasting life,” continued Bishop Lowry. “Let us all, everyone, live by the Spirit and follow the Spirit [Gal 5:25] and keep firm in our hearts and minds the commandment of Jesus given to us in John 15, “…love each other as I have loved you.’”
 

2016 Episcopal Address

Bishop Mike Lowry delivered his annual Episcopal Address during the 2016 Central Texas Annual Conference meeting. Click on the video box below to hear what the episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference had to say about the state of the conference and the UMC connection.