News

For Followers of Christ, Cultural Competency Is a Must

published 5/10/2017
Erin Hawkins challenges CTC group to build bridges for the sake of the church and the world by Dr. Kevin Walters* Connecting with people across differences isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s essential as a follower of Christ, stressed Erin Hawkins, general secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race at a recent leadership event in the Central Texas Conference (CTC). Drawing from Matthew’s and John’s Gospels, Hawkins showed that Christ commands and expects his followers to embrace ...

Decision from Judicial Council on Consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto

published 4/29/2017
While no official statement on the ruling has been put forth by the Central Texas Conference or Bishop Lowry, we urge you to refer to the letter sent by Bishop Lowry and Conference Lay Leader Mike Ford on Tuesday, April 25 for context on this issue. You can access that letter at ctcumc.org/reflections-JudicialCouncilApril2017. Bishop Lowry asks that everyone respects the adjudication of the judicial council , the full processes in place for issues like this and we continue to be in prayer with ...

UMC Bishops Call Special Session of General Conference for Feb. 2019

published 4/25/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has made it official and called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). The dates for the called GC will be Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis.   In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the Special Session will be held in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph 14 of The Book of Discipline (2016).   The purpose of ...

Commission on Way Forward optimistic of future, delves into tough task

published 4/11/2017
by Rev. Maidstone Mulenga, Director of Communications – Council of Bishops (mmulenga@umc-cob.org or 202-748-5172  Members of the Commission on a Way Forward have expressed optimism at reaching consensus on a plan or plans to guide the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church into the future. During the three-day meeting, April 6-8, at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., the Commission members began discussing possible outcomes and timelines on accomplishing their ...

Dr. Eric McKinney to Retire as TMF Rep to CTC; Rev. John Mollet Announced as New Area Representative

published 3/31/2017
The Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) has announced the retirement of Dr. Eric McKinney from his eight-year tenure as senior area representative for the Central Texas Conference. Eric's retirement is effective July 1. An elder in the Central Texas Conference, Eric has served as pastor, district superintendent, interim Southwestern University chaplain and TMF clergy group facilitator before joining the TMF staff in 2009.   “Eric’s passion for connecting congregations and individuals more closely ...

Changes to Central Texas Conference Disaster Response Leadership Announced

published 3/30/2017
Rev. Laraine Waughtal, who has served as the Central Texas Conference Coordinator of Disaster Response/UMVIM in a conference staff position since 2014, has decided to accept the position of Director of Missional Engagement with the Louisiana Conference effective July 1. Prior to 2014, Laraine served in a non-staff capacity as the CTC Disaster Response Coordinator while serving as a local church pastor.   Laraine’s passion for and calling to minister to those in need during times of disaster – ...

Dr. Eric Smith to Retire as THR Head of Faith and Spirituality

published 2/21/2017
The Central Texas Conference’s own Rev. Dr. Eric Smith, vice president of Faith and Spirituality Integration, Texas Health Resources, has announced that he will retire effective March 31. Since bringing his ministry to the CTC in early 2009, Eric has been a vital part of the strong relationship between the conference and Texas Health Resources – first as the healthcare provider’s senior chaplain and then in an executive role created just to fit his skillset.   Of course, anyone who knows Eric ...

Cookies for the Troops Christmas 2016 Effort a Huge Success

published 2/1/2017
Central Texas Churches bake and deliver more than 100,000 Christmas cookies to U.S. Troops by J. Vance Morton*   As you’ll recall, toward the end of 2016, Bob Murchison, pastor of Winters First United Methodist Church, launched and spearheaded Cookies for the Troops 2016 – a mission project eagerly endorsed and supported by Bishop Lowry and the CTC Executive Leadership Team. This conference-wide effort was designed to provide a little taste of home to U. S. military women and men who couldn’t...

2016 Christmas & New Years Holiday Schedule

published 12/15/2016
The Central Texas Conference Service Center (CTCSC) will be closed Dec. 23 – Jan. 2 for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday . The Service Center will resume normal business hours at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3. If you have an emergency and need to reach a member of the Service Center when the CTCSC is closed, call 817-994-0139 or e-mail CTCSC@ctcumc.org.   2016 End-of-Year Giving Remittance Schedule. Refer to the timetable below as you plan your church’s year-end remittances to the Conference ...

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 ...

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