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A Message of Thanks, Admiration & Perseverance (Video)

Aug. 14

In his latest video message to the CTC, Bishop Lowry, having recently returned to Lone Star State after taking a few weeks to go and play the role of Papa with his grandkids, shares words of admiration and thanks to the clergy and lay leadership who continue to go above and beyond in their efforts to keep their congregations and communities connected to the church during this continuing COVID-19 pandemic. He also reminds us that we must continue to stay the course of prudence and diligence in keeping each other safe and healthy in these times and offers some important steps for church leadership to consider in the coming months – particularly for churches who are considering holding a Fall Festival or Lord’s Acre this year. Click here or the title above to view this brief and important video message.

Council of Bishops statement on the Scourge of Racism

June 8
In the aftermath of police killings of unarmed black people, the bishops of The United Methodist Church today called on all United Methodists to act now by using their voices, pens, feet and hearts to end racism. In a statement released by Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, the bishops are urging every United Methodist to reclaim their baptismal vows to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. Click here or the title above to read the full COB statement from Bishop Harvey.
 

Bishop Lowry Discusses How to Actively Address the Sin of Racism

June 4
“If we are not actively addressing racism, we are not disciples and we are not making disciples.” In a video address to the CTC and to Christians everywhere, Bishop Lowry directly and fervently shares his anguish and grief over the recent events surrounding the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd and the “degradations of entrenched racism and callous indifference which have no place in a Christian world view,” and offers a brief list of possibilities and suggestions for concrete, specific action designed to fight the blight of racism. Click here or the title above for more or go to the CTC's Facebook page to view, comment and/or share Bishop Lowry's video message.

 

Postponed 2020 Jurisdictional Conferences to Convene in November 2021

May 26

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president, UMC Council of Bishops, announced that postponed 2020 Jurisdictional Conferences in the U.S. will be rescheduled for Nov. 10-12, 2021. Times, Locations and other information for the South Central Jurisdictional Conference will be announced at a later date.

 

History Made as Bishop Harvey Becomes First Hispanic Woman COB President

May 5

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area assumed the mantle as president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church during the council’s global and virtual April 29-May 1 meeting. During the meeting the COB also made decisions on how to refer to the upcoming General Conference in 2021; that Colleges of Bishops would cover episcopal vacancies in the wake of postponed Jurisdictional Conferences and more. Click here for full update.

A Letter to Central Texas Clergy Regarding Returning to In-Person Worship

April 29

To assist in communicating the official Central Texas Conference Guidelines for Responding to COVID-19, Bishop Lowry sent a letter to CTC clergy which further detailed his and the Cabinet’s conviction toward online worship only at this time as well as brief summary of the health protocols prescribed in Gov. Abbott’s Open Texas Report. You may access that letter at ctcumc.org/BishopLowry_In-Person-Worship.

 

A Statement from Bishop Lowry on Returning to In-Person Worship   

April 28

The Cabinet and I are aware that many are anxious to return to in-person worship following the recent updated guidance to houses of worship from Gov. Abbot and Attorney General Paxton. It is my hope that the churches of the Central Texas Conference “Breathe Deep” and stay the current course of worshipping online. Follow this link for more.

 

Bishop Lowry Provides Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Response and Returning to In-Person Worship

April 27

Following the April 27 announcement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding new executive orders on "Reopening Texas" in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Lowry released the following video with guidance to the local churches of the Central Texas Conference on how they are to respond. Bishop Lowry feels it is unwise for churches to return to in-person worship and in the best interest of all - especially the most vulnerable - that churches should stay the course  with online worship only. However, consistent with all episcopal and Cabinet guidance during this crisis, Bishop Lowry will leave the decision on if and when to return to "in-person worship" with the local churches as long as they do so in consultation with their lay leadership and DS and follow ALL civil and medical orders and protocols. Click here for more.

 

Video Update from Bishop Mike Lowry 

April 23

In his latest video update to the Central Texas Conference, Bishop Lowry addresses several topics related to the ministries and business of the CTC - chief among them being what does the reported “reopening of Texas” plans mean for our local churches? Other topics touched on by Bishop Lowry include the latest news on how the pandemic is affecting Annual Conference plans and schedules, his tenure as the episcopal leader of the conference, the financial resources and assistance available to local churches and other information around Connectional Mission Giving. View the video here.

 

"On the COVID-19 Emmaus Road" a message from Bishop Mike Lowry

April 16

This past Easter Sunday was like no other. Still, while radically different from what any of us could have imagined earlier this year, the Easter Celebrations of the Central Texas Conference churches were triumphantly expressed. We were separated but not alone.  Join Bishop Lowry as he reflects on his Easter experiences – experiences he equates something of an Emmaus Road experience – and shares a few of the creative ways churches across the CTC welcomed the Risen Christ during these COVID-19 times. Click here for more.

 

 "The Son Rises" - An Easter Sunrise Message from Bishop Mike Lowry

April 10

Bishop Lowry shares a very familiar message of hope and peace during a very unfamiliar and unsettled COVID-19 world. He IS Risen. He IS Risen Indeed! View the message here.

 

"The Stones Cry" - A Holy Week Message from Bishop Lowry

April 7

As we continue our Holy Week journey to and through the cross on our way to the joy of Easter morning, we are quickly reminded that this is a very different Holy Week. This is NOT the Holy Week any of us could have ever anticipated. Yet here we are, and Easter IS Coming. Please join Bishop Lowry as he shares a Holy Week message in which he reminds us to take a pause and set aside all the new “to-dos’ that now occupy our thoughts and actions in this COVID-19 world – take a moment and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus, on His constant and unchanging love and what this week means for us all. View the video here.

 

COVID-19 News Update from Bishop Mike Lowry

March 30
While the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has caused the temporary suspension of in-person worship services and ministries, it has also caused the postponement of many events in the church – such as General Conference 2020. Bishop Lowry briefly addresses this issue and how the crisis might affect the 2020 Jurisdictional Conference, Annual Conference and local churches in the following short video. Click here for more

 

Council of Bishops Offers Ash Wednesday 2020 Pastoral Letter to the People of The United Methodist Church

Feb. 26, 2020
In the COB's annual Ash Wednesday pastoral letter to the people of the UMC (see below), Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, shared a message of hope for the church and its people as we begin our 2020 Lenten journey - a hope that is found in the cross, in traditional Ash Wednesday scriptures like Psalm 51 and 2 Corinthians 5, in conversations currently being had all across the denomination and, most importantly, in the power and providence of God. Click here to read the full letter.
 

Mike Lowry Named as First Bishop-in-Residence at United Theological Seminary

Jan. 30, 2020

The Rev. Dr. Mike Lowry, resident bishop of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church, will join the United Theological Seminary community as the school’s first Bishop-in-Residence beginning in the fall of 2020. Bishop Lowry, the longest-tenured leader of the Fort Worth episcopal area, is set to retire from his role as bishop on Sept. 1 after serving the Central Texas Conference from 2008 to 2020.

Click here to read the full press release.

 

The Possible Future of Multiple Methodist Denominations

Jan. 8, 2020

Recently, a new proposal to General Conference titled Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation has been published. In my comments following the release of “The Protocol agreement,” I specifically referenced Ephesians 1:22-23. I deeply believe that God, in Christ, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is reforming the church once again. No matter how unclear the future is to us, we know who holds the future! I write today, in part, to re-emphasize my call to prayer for General Conference as a whole and our CTC Delegation in particular; my urging of a careful reading of the proposed Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation statement; and a heartfelt invitation to engage in respectful dialogue and conversations that span the theological divide. Vance Morton, the Central Texas Conference Director of Communications and IT, has pulled together a FAQ document, which should help greatly in understanding “the Protocol” document. You can access and/or download the FAQ at ctcumc.org/TheProtocol_FAQ. Several reports in the secular press have given inaccurate impressions regarding the immediate import of this proposal.

 

Click here to read more, including the seven key points offered to help clear up any misconceptions of the immediate future of the UMC.

 

Bishop Michael Coyner (Retired) Dies

Jan. 8, 2020

Bishop Michael Coyner, retired Bishop of Indiana Area, died today January 8, 2020.  Bishop Coyner had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer that had spread to his liver. He served churches of various sizes in the North Indiana Conference, served as a District Superintendent, and was also the Executive Assistant to the Bishop. He was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church in 1996 and was assigned to serve the Dakotas Area, where he served two terms.

In 2004, he has assigned to return to the Indiana Area as Bishop. He oversaw the life and ministry of 1250 United Methodist congregations in the North and South Indiana Conferences, comprising more than 225,000 members.  Read more here.

 

Proposed Agreement on a Possible New Future for the Methodist Movement Announced

Jan. 3, 2020
A diverse, 16-member group, which included eight United Methodist bishops and eight representatives from centrist, progressive and traditionalist United Methodist advocacy groups, has announced a plan to move the denomination beyond its decades-long impasse over same-sex marriage ceremonies in UMC churches and the ordination of self-avowed, practicing homosexuals. The proposed plan, titled the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, received unanimous support from all contributing parties and proposes the formation of a new, traditionalist Methodist denomination as the best way to resolve the continued tensions in the church over conflicting views related to human sexuality. Legislation to implement “The Protocol” statement – an eight-page document which details terms of a split of the 13+ million-member church - is expected to be put before the 2020 General Conference during the May 5-15 legislative meeting in Minneapolis, Minn.
 
“I commend to the clergy, lay members and friends of the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist church a prayerful and careful reading of the proposed Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation statement,” said Bishop Lowry upon the statement’s release. He was quick to dispel misconceptions from various news reports that today’s announced Protocol agreement cemented a split in the denomination. “Only General Conference can make such decisions,” stated Bishop Lowry. “It is important to understand that this is only a proposal – the Book of Discipline has not changed and nor can it until General Conference meets this May."

 

Read more here or by clicking the title above.

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