The United Methodist Council of Bishops (COB) today announced that Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has been designated to cover the episcopal duties for the Central Texas Conference (CTC) upon the retirement of Bishop Mike Lowry on Jan. 1, 2022. Bishop Saenz was unanimously recommended to the council from the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops and was officially voted to be the CTC’s Coverage Bishop during a meeting on June 1.
The Council of Bishops also voted to have Bishop James Nunn of the Oklahoma/Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference to cover episcopal duties in the Northwest Texas Conference, and Bishop Robert Schnase, Rio Texas Conference, to cover the New Mexico Conference once Bishop Earl Bledsoe retires January 1, 2022.
Bishops Saenz, Nunn and Schnase, who were all recommended to the COB by the South Central Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops, will provide episcopal supervision for their designated conferences until permanent bishops are assigned by a duly held meeting of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, which is tentatively scheduled to meet Nov. 2-4, 2022.
|Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr has served as the episcopal leader of the Great Plains Conference since his election to the episcopacy in 2016|
This will not be the first time Bishop Saenz has picked up the mantle for Bishop Lowry. Both served in the former Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conference (now Rio Texas) prior to their election to the episcopacy. Before his election in 2016, Bishop Saenz served as the Director of Congregational and New Church Development in the former Southwest Texas Conference, a position Bishop Lowry also held prior to his election in 2008.
“I’ve known Bishop Saenz for many years and have had the honor of serving with him as an episcopal colleague in the South Central Jurisdiction since his election in 2016,” noted Bishop Lowry. “I greatly admired his stellar work as a pastor and leader during his time in Texas. I hold Bishop Saenz in very high-esteem and believe him to be one of our truly outstanding bishops.
“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome him back to Texas and to the Central Texas Conference in particular, as I’m confident the conference as a whole will be,” Bishop Lowry continued. “Bishop Saenz is a dedicated Christ-centered leader and I believe is an excellent choice for the mission, churches and lay and clergy leadership of our conference.”
Bishop Lowry, who will remain as the episcopal leader of the Central Texas Conference through Dec. 31 plans to welcome Bishop Saenz in the fall. Until that time, both bishops will continue to actively focus on the mission and exciting kingdom work happening in their conferences.
“As I wrote in my blog last week, the winds of the Holy Spirit are blowing among the churches of the Central Texas Conference. God is moving in our lives!” exclaimed Bishop Lowry. “I’m looking forward to our time together at our Annual Conference meeting in a few weeks as well as the next seven months, leading and being a part of all that the Lord God Almighty, through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit is doing in the Central Texas Conference.”
|Bishop Saenz and his wife Maye at his episcopal election in 2016.|
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr is a native of south Texas and lifelong United Methodist. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and a former high school teacher, high school football coach, and businessperson. He earned his Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Perkins School of Theology. Bishop Saenz (pronounced sigh-nz), who has served congregations from East Dallas to El Paso, is married to Mayé. They have four adult children and nine grandchildren, all active in the life of The United Methodist Church..
Soon after learning that he’d been named to provide episcopal coverage for the Central Texas Conference, Bishop Saenz recorded the following brief message to the people of the CTC.
Watch ctcumc.org for more on Bishop Saenz as well as planned celebrations to honor Bishop Lowry later this summer and throughout the fall.