News

TMF Awards Medallion of Merit to Hiram Smith

published 12/1/2016
The Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) awarded the TMF Medallion of Merit to W. Hiram Smith of the Central Texas Conference. The Medallion of Merit is the organization’s highest honor and is bestowed on individuals who have made a significant contribution towards advancing the mission of TMF and/or The United Methodist Church (UMC).   Upon learning of the award, Bishop Lowry was most pleased, but certainly not surprised. “Hiram Smith is one of God’s true champions,” he exclaimed. “He’s provided ...

Pam Phinney Named CTC Director of Lay Servant Ministries

published 12/1/2016
by Susan Craig*   The Central Texas Conference Lay Ministry Team has announced the appointment of Pam Phinney as the conference director of Lay Servant Ministries (LSM). Pam Phinney replaces Pam Dieckert, who has served in the role for four years.**   Both women have a legacy of lay leadership within their church, their district and the conference. Mrs. Dieckert, a member of First United Methodist Church of Belton, said that due to the need to focus on caring for her aging parent, it is time for...

A Way Forward Progress Report - November 2016

published 11/21/2016
Bishops David Yemba, Ken Carter and Sandra Steiner Ball (left to right in photo below)- the three bishops serving as moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward - met Nov. 17-18, 2016 to continue the planning process of the Commission's work and offered the following progress report. Our hope and prayer for The United Methodist Church is that we will be united and vital, missional and global. As we began, we discussed a number of practical matters, beginning with visas for our international ...

2016 Clergy Age Report Shows Modest but Steady Increase in Young Elders

published 9/14/2016
Lewis Center for Leadership Releases its Annual Report on Clergy Age Trends in the UMC Growth among young elders remains modest but relatively steady, according to the Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report released today by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The annual report is prepared with assistance from Wespath, formerly the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church.   Highlights of 2016 report include: ...

What do the new U.S. labor standards mean for the local church?

published 8/31/2016
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced its changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “white collar” overtime exemption rules. The final rule strengthens protection for workers by increasing the standard salary level for qualification for overtime exemption from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). Practical implications of these rules are: Churches and other employers should carefully review the employment classification of all staff to ...

Tarleton Wesley Students Share Their Love and Growth with Glen Lake Summer Campers

published 7/26/2016
by Hanna Newcomer - Tarleton State University, Class of 2019 “Love God. Serve Others. Live Righteously.” That is the mission statement of the Tarleton State University Wesley Foundation in Stephenville. If you do not know, Wesley Foundations are United Methodist student ministries for college students across the country. The Methodist denomination was founded by John Wesley, a man who once said to “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you ...

U.S. Jurisdictions Elect 15 New Bishops

published 7/17/2016
U.S. bishops begin new assignments on Sept. 1 The denomination’s five U.S. jurisdictional conferences announced the assignments for bishops in all 46 episcopal areas, effective Sept. 1, following the elections that took place at the five Jurisdictional Conferences last week. Fifteen bishops are retiring and another 22 were reassigned to their current episcopal areas for another quadrennium. All but one of the 15 United Methodist elders elected as new U.S. bishops last week will be packing their ...

Four More Years! Bishop Lowry Reassigned to Central Texas by SCJC16

published 7/15/2016
The clock was close to striking midnight in Wichita, Kansas before the delegates, observers, staff and guests of the 2016 South Central Jurisdictional Conference (SCJC16) learned who would be serving as the episcopal leader for their Annual Conference. The CTC delegation applauded and cheered when Episcopacy Committee Chair Don House announced that Bishop Mike Lowry was being recommended for assignment to the Central Texas Conference – a recommendation that was unanimously approved by the body ...

SCJC Seeks Declaratory Decision from Judicial Council Regarding Election of Openly Gay Bishop

published 7/15/2016
On the heels of the election of the first openly gay bishop in the United Methodist Church in the Western Jurisdiction, members of the South Central Jurisdiction voted late Friday night to ask the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision regarding same-sex church leaders by a vote of 109-84. The vote came just minutes after news exploded on social media that the Rev. Karen Oliveto, an openly gay pastor, was elected as a bishop in the Western Jurisdiction. The United Methodist Book of ...

Bishop Lowry Calls on all CTC Methodists to Pause and Pray Following Deadly Dallas Shootings

published 7/8/2016
Brent Thompson, DART officer slain in Dallas shootings, had long-time active ties to the CTC Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called for a moment of silence to be observed in Dallas at noon Friday, July 8 in response to Thursday night’s deadly shootings in Dallas. He also invited any and all to pray for the victims of and their families. Bishop Lowry echoed this invitation and has called on all members of the Central Texas Conference to join in a time of prayer for the victims and their families.   ...

New Poll Shines Light on What Attracts People to Church

published 7/6/2016
Opportunities for spiritual growth and authentic community are top motivators for churchgoing, according to a newly released survey by Barna Group. Barna’s study sought insights about what young-adult spiritual “seekers” in the United States expect from churches. The Christian research organization defined these seekers as Americans currently ages 18 to 34 who are not active churchgoers or committed to a congregation but nevertheless indicate interest in spiritual matters.   Survey respondents ...

Storming the Gates – Leah Hidde-Gregory Installed as Central District Superintendent

published 6/21/2016
by Vance Morton*   The Central District of the Central Texas Conference UMC officially welcomed their new District Superintendent on Monday, June 20, as Leah Hidde-Gregory was formally installed to that office by Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference. The service was held in the beautiful 100-plus year-old sanctuary of First UMC Hillsboro – the church Leah and her family called home for the last three years as she served as senior pastor.   The service was a ...

CTC Delegation Works Hard as GC16 Winds Down

published 5/20/2016
Even on the last day of General Conference 2016, the CTC Delegation remains hard at work as they consider and debate the budget for the next four years. Click here to read how Kim Simpson was integral in passing legislation regarding opposing sports teams that have mascots that are offensive to Native Americans and the cities that they call home. Also, you can follow this link hear from Dr. Tim Bruster on his hopeful thoughts coming out of General Conference, who is especially hopeful for the ...

#WeAreMore Campaign Highlights The Church in Action

published 4/25/2016
The bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction have joined together to produce a campaign focused on stories that connect people and proclaim that #WeAreMore when united through Jesus Christ. We Are More than 10 days in Portland. We Are More than any of our disagreements regarding hot button issues on which the press will likely focus. We Are More than budgets, sub-committees and procedural changes. We Are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ – a bright and shining beacon of hope in a bruised and ...

A Spring Break to Remember

published 4/1/2016
by Eva Pray* (photos by Erin Kiel*)   In typical college settings, if I said that I was spending my Spring Break in Mexico, most people (if not all) would assume I was headed to Cancun, Cozumel or one of the myriad other “fun-in-the-sun” destinations our neighbor to the south has to offer. In fact, I’d bet that the idea that I would be traveling to Acuña, Mexico – an impoverished border city across from Del Rio – to help a family build their dream home wouldn’t even crack the top 10 list of ...

Bishop Lowry Announces Changes to the Central Texas Conference Cabinet

published 2/26/2016
North District Superintendent Ginger Bassford’s decision to return to the local church compels unexpected changes to the Cabinet. by Vance Morton* and Julian Hobdy**   Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, has announced the following changes to the Cabinet: Rev. Dr. Ginger Bassford has decided to forgo her final planned year as the North District Superintendent and return to the local church. Rev. Mike Ramsdell, who was announced ...

Dr. Lisa Neslony Appointed as West District Superintendent

published 2/25/2016
Dr. Lisa Neslony Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, has announced that Dr. Lisa Neslony will be appointed as the District Superintendent (DS) for the West District of the Central Texas Conference effective July 1. The district’s current superintendent, Rev. Carol Woods recently announced her retirement from active ministry, creating the open position on the Central Texas Conference Cabinet and in the West District. It had been ...

Health Care Reform Update – IRS Extends Form 1095-B Deadline

published 2/5/2016
The IRS has extended the due date for mailing Form 1095-B to individuals for 2015 tax returns to March 31, 2016. As part of Section 6055 Reporting under the Affordable Care Act, Form 1095-B verifies the “individual mandate” for minimum essential health coverage.   The IRS Form 1095-B verifies the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “individual mandate” for minimum essential health coverage. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBOPHB) will be issuing Form 1095-B, for the conferences covered ...

Rev. Mike Ramsdell Appointed as West District Superintendent

published 1/30/2016
Carol Woods will retire as DS and from active ministry at AC16. by Vance Morton*   Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, has announced Rev. Mike Ramsdell will be appointed as the District Superintendent (DS) for the West District of the Central Texas Conference effective July 1. The district’s current superintendent, Rev. Carol Woods recently announced her retirement from active ministry, creating the open position on the Central ...

Rev. Leah Hidde-Gregory to Assume Central District Superintendent Role

published 1/18/2016
Current Central District Superintendent Rev. Don Scott to retire at AC16. by Vance Morton*   Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, has announced that Leah Hidde-Gregory has been appointed to serve as District Superintendent (DS) for the Central District of the Central Texas Conference effective July 1. The district’s current superintendent, Rev. Don Scott, is in the final year of his eligibility to serve as a DS and recently announced...

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