The 2022 Special Called Session of the Central Texas Annual Conference was gaveled to order by Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. a few ticks past 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 17. As he opened the meeting, he reminded the more than 650 gathered in person at Arborlawn United Methodist Church and the many more watching online that the purpose of the meeting was to take action on the 81 petitions for disaffiliation duly received by the Conference and adopt a conference budget for 2023.
He also acknowledged the gravity of the day’s actions.
“Friends, today we are gathered together to vote on the business before us, but more importantly. to break and share in a common loaf and cup at Christ’s table one last time,” stated Bishop Saenz. “We are here to say our farewells as this is the last time for some of us to gather together as a United Methodist Church representative body. This is a tough day. May the Lord’s grace and mercy be with us.”
|"The Church will survive our missteps and whatever cultural trends happen around us." Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. addresses the members and guests of the 2022 Special Session of the Central Texas Annual Conference. Photo - J. Vance Morton.
Following a brief time of Organizing the Conference led by Conference Secretary Dr. Clifton Howard, the Conference moved to a time of worship highlighted by Holy Communion and a stirring address from Bishop Saenz in which he did not shy from the obstacles at hand while eagerly reestablishing that we are a people of hope and promise in our Lord Jesus Christ.
“We have all been through a very traumatic season in our lives…we are exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually,” commented Bishop Saenz. “We grieve the loss of long-standing relationships – of familiar spaces and places. We are disappointed because instead of staying at the table to engage in dialogue and prayer and find a way to maintain our unity in the bonds of peace within the United Methodist Church, we instead chose a path of separation. Our witness as the outward face of Christ to a watching world has been marred.
“And yet, we must believe that God is not finished with us, despite our disputes and strife,” Bishop Saenz continued. “
While some have chosen to go a separate way, we all belong to Christ. As despairing as we might be over the church’s future, we must remind ourselves that the church was Jesus’ idea, not ours. The Church will survive our missteps and whatever cultural trends happen around us. We certainly don’t always get things right, but Christ has an incredible history of pulling together Christians in every generation to share his love for a broken world.”
|Rev. Fred Bates, Chair of the CTC Board of Trustees, introduces and moves to adopt 81 Resolutions of Disaffiliation
After Communion was observed, Rev. Fred Bates, chair of the Conference Board of Trustees, came to podium and presented the 81 churches who had duly met, voted and submitted a resolution of disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church. He then formally made the motion to adopt these resolutions – a motion that passed by near unanimous consent of the clergy and lay members present.
Should all provisions of ¶2553 of the Book of Discipline as outlined in Item 2 of each of the disaffiliation resolutions
be met, the following churches will be disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church as of Nov.1, 2022:
Bethel (Waxahachie), Blooming Grove, Bosqueville, Chatfield, Coolidge, Corsicana First, Dawson, Emhouse, Frost, Groesbeck First, Hewitt First, Hubbard First, Itasca First, Kerens, Kopperl, Lebanon, Line Street, Lorena, Mart First, Meier Settlement, Mosheim, Mt Calm, Perry, St. Luke (Corsicana), Tehuacana, Thornton, Waco First, Waco Korean, Wortham
Alliance, Lifepoint, Lighthouse Fellowship
Bethesda, Godley, Poolville, Watts Chapel
Bethel (Jonesboro), Center City, Evant, Foundation (Temple), Gatesville First, Harker Heights, Jarrell First, Lamkin, Lanham, Moody First, Moody Leon, Mooreville, New Gate (Killeen), Pidcoke, Star, Temple First
Ballinger, Blanket, Bluff Dale, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Cisco, Coleman, Comanche, Cross Plains, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Emanual Chapel, Glen Rose, Gorman, Gouldbusk, Green's Creek, May, Morgan Mill, Mullin, Murray, Newcastle, Novice, Rising Star, Salem-Crestview, St. Paul-Breckenridge, Tonk Valley, Winters, Zephyr
In his closing remarks, Bishop Saenz once more reiterated that above all distractions and divisions, there is an awesome opportunity in front of us to successfully engage in our disciple making mission. “There are 4.8 million people living in the Central Texas Conference. There are 43,000 who gather in our Conference churches each Sunday. That’s only one-tenth of one percent of the population. We have a fantastic opportunity and obligation ahead of us. This is not a day to despair. This is a day to refocus on and reimagine the work that Christ is calling us to do.”