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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Read more here or by clicking the title above.