On April 11, Bishop Saenz sent the following letter to all chairpersons of Central Texas Conference committees, boards, councils and teams directing them as to how to best manage committee/ board/ council/ team members who may have prayerfully discerned to disaffiliate from the UMC.
April 11, 2022
To: Central Texas Conference Committee/Board/Council/Team Chairpersons
Greetings in the name of the risen Christ. May the grace and peace of God be with your spirit.
I am sure you are aware that discussions about churches considering disaffiliating from the Central Texas Conference and The United Methodist Church are taking place throughout the Conference. This is generating quite a lot of anxiety among both clergy and laity. As leaders of the Conference, we need to encourage people to breathe deeply, understand that there is no reason to rush to make decisions in this matter and model being calm and focused on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our committees, boards, councils and teams are populated with persons who are discerning whether to leave The UMC or stay. In this season, we will address this in a Christ-like spirit, in openness and in fairness:
All our United Methodist sisters and brothers are part of The UMC until they are not.
Persons who have indicated they intend to leave The UMC are not to be summarily removed from their duly elected or appointed committee/board/council/team positions.
Chairpersons do not have the authority to unilaterally remove someone from a committee/board/council/team as most of the persons serving were elected by the Annual Conference.
Chairpersons should have conversations with team members who have indicated their desire to leave the UMC about their role on the team going forward.
Persons may voluntarily choose to step down - for any reason. For those who choose to do so, we want to thank them for their service as part of the team.
Chairpersons should contact their Conference staff representative when in doubt about appropriate actions or if there are other questions.
In this season of challenge, let us recommit ourselves to behaving like the disciples Christ calls us to be and with the spirit and mind of Christ, not stray away from our mission of making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. I am grateful and excited to be serving with you and look forward to what the Lord is going to do in us and through us.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.