Dear Clergy and Lay Members of the Rio Texas Annual Conference,
Light and Grace to you in this Epiphany Season.
Thank you for your faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have begun a new thing with the creation of the Rio Texas Annual Conference. The spirit in which you have come together to journey a new path has inspired many persons to imagine what God can do in the midst of committed United Methodists.
During this difficult time of transition in the episcopal office, the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops has been in prayer for you and your continued witness. When a vacancy occurs in an episcopal office, the College has the responsibility to name an interim bishop to serve until bishops are elected at a jurisdictional conference. The College has asked bishops who are sons and daughters of the former Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences to form a team who will provide episcopal leadership and supervision. Bishop Janice Huie of the Texas Conference, Bishop Michael Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, Bishop Joel Martinez, who is retired, and Bishop Robert Schnase of the Missouri Conference have agreed to come home to serve in the conference and area they love. Bishops Huie, Lowry, and Schnase will continue to serve in their respective annual conferences. With Bishop Martinez, they will divide the responsibilities of the Bishop of the Rio Texas Conference. Bishop Huie will be named as the interim bishop of record.
The team approach is unique, but I am confident that it will serve the Rio Texas Conference well until a new bishop is assigned to the Rio Texas Conference at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in July. That new bishop begins serving on September 1.
I have had the joy to work with the Cabinet of the Rio Texas Conference and am grateful for their leadership and faithfulness.
May God continue to bless your witness.
President, South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops