News & Announcements

A Word from Your Provost about LAUNCH New Mexico

Do you know the difference between a Cadillac and a frog? I don’t know either, but if you attend LAUNCH New Mexico to be held October 28-30, 2021 in Santa Fe, it may not seem like such a strange question.  LAUNCH enables participants to stretch their imagination, to exercise creative muscles, and deconstruct ideas to create new, unexpected results.

Sometimes, as clergy and laity we run out of ideas of what to do to impact our churches and our communities. Other times, we have great ideas, but they aren’t working as we’d hoped or we don’t even know how to get started. I believe those are the times when we need someone who can help us see and think through things differently. LAUNCH New Mexico will provide you with tools for problem-solving, adaptive leadership, and implementing new ideas.

Please note the following details:

  • Register a team from your congregation. The registration fee for a team of three is $200.
  • The deadline to receive a reduced hotel rate is October 3rd, and the deadline to register for the event is October 15th.
  • To make your online reservation with the Drury Plaza Hotel, Click Here
  • Discounted rooms may also be reserved at the Drury Plaza Hotel by calling 505.424.2175 and referencing “Launch Group Block for October”.

Make plans to attend, so you can learn how to grow your ministry while having fun (maybe you will get to see a frog driving a Cadillac too!)

Afghan Refugee Assistance – A Call to Action

A Message from Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe & Provost, Eddie Rivera
Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In the coming days, weeks and months, our Churches around the New Mexico Conference will be offered another opportunity to practice radical hospitality as tens of thousands of Afghan individuals and families are now entering the United States for resettlement purposes. They are holders of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV’s) for aiding the United States military mission in Afghanistan for almost 20 years. A team of leaders and their congregations from our Conference are organizing efforts to be part of those welcoming Afghans families and individuals into their communities.
Bishop Bledsoe has issued his support of these efforts by stating, “The Scriptures (both Old and New Testament) are clear as to our response to the sojourner or refugee in our midst. We are to care for them as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our church founder John Wesley suggests we do no harm, but do good to all. As United Methodists we not only have a responsibility but an obligation to help those in need, but expressly the stranger in our midst. My prayer and support is with all those who feed, clothe and shelter those in need in the name of Jesus Christ!”
I join with Bishop Bledsoe and those leading us in heeding a Call to Action as some of our cities around our Conference will be chosen for the resettlement of many SIV’s. Kristen Bowdre, who drafted our Call to Action (stated below) is our Executive Director of JFON-El Paso. Kristen is a Deaconess who has worked in immigrant serving organizations professionally for the past 10 years, including at Annunciation House as a volunteer and board member and as an Accredited Representative at Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso. Kristen is joined by a number of our clergy and lay leaders who are knowledgeable and experienced in working with the organizations and agencies that serve immigrants and refugees.
This is not just a humanitarian response, but an action based on our Christian principles. Remember that when we show hospitality to strangers, we may be entertaining angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2). We will be communicating more specifically how you, your family and your church can actively participate in this new expression of Radical Hospitality.
Rev. Dr. Eddie Rivera, Provost
A Call to Action
It can be easy to watch the news and feel hopeless and helpless to do anything about these realities, even as Americans and Afghans are being evacuated, and planes are arriving in the US every day. Some of the Afghan refugees are arriving to our communities- at Ft. Bliss in El Paso and at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo.
As people of faith, many of the stories we read in the Bible that help us understand how to follow God and how to live in the world are stories about immigrants and refugees, including Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus himself – a Middle Eastern refugee. God commands the Israelites in the Old Testament to “treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:34). They are instructed to welcome the stranger because they themselves were once strangers and were delivered from the land of Egypt. Most of us can trace in our own family’s lineage back to someone who came to the US from another country seeking a better life. And so, it is now our turn to welcome the stranger among us.
Friends, we have an opportunity to be a welcoming, hospitable presence to Afghan refugees in our community. To treat them as the native among us. When we come together as siblings in Christ, we have the opportunity to share in the inbreaking of the kin-dom of God. Our communities will be a better place with refugees in them, enhancing diversity of language, culture, ideas, and even ways of seeing God. Will you join me in responding?
There are several ways you can get involved.
There is a need for donations, both for supplies and for monetary donations. Please share this information and donation links with family, friends, colleagues…anyone who is called to help.
Supplies
  • In El Paso, Trinity-First UMC will serve as a collection site for donation items. We will then take them to the Armed Services YMCA and the Office of New Americans who are coordinating donations in El Paso. If you are not local and you would like to purchase needed supplies, please see the Amazon wish list here: Amazon.com
  • In Las Cruces, El Calvario UMC will act as a collection site for donations for the Holloman Air Force Base location. Please check the Amazon wish list for regular updates on what things are needed. https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/2OKR8DYU2ZXBG/ref=smi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl
  • In Albuquerque the Conference Office at 11816 Lomas Blvd. NE, ABQ, NM 87112 will serve as a collection site.
  • In Alamogordo, Grace UMC-Alamogordo is collecting the following items for those housed at Holloman Air Force Base. They are prioritized by need. Please organize them by each grouping before delivery. Contact the church office at (575)437-7640 to schedule an approximate drop-off time.
  1. New only Diapers, Formula, Bottles, Baby Wipes, Feminine Hygiene Products (sanitary napkins/pads only, NO tampons).
  2. New only Laundry detergent and fabric softener.
  3. Toys and stuffed animals (new or gently used/cleaned only)
  4. New only Baby Items: clothing, blankets, baby lotions, etc.
  5. New only Personal hygiene items for men, women, and children: soap, body lotion, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  6. Clothing for women: long sleeve tops, long skirts, scarves that can cover head and hair. New or gently used/cleaned
  7. New underwear for men, women, and children.
Monetary Support
If you would like to provide monetary support, there are several ways you can donate.
Housing and Family Sponsorship
Currently, the areas within 100 miles of Las Cruces and Albuquerque (and possibly Odessa) are in urgent need of housing and secure facilities to host families. Those interested in sponsoring a family arriving in their community or providing in-kind support — including landlords able to rent housing to new arrivals — can fill out a form online or email volunteers@elcalvarioumc.org
Thank you for responding however you are able. Seeing the community mobilize to act as the hands and feet of Christ is what gives me hope, as we live out God’s commandment to love one another and experience God’s kin-dom on earth.
Kristen Bowdre
Executive Director, JFON El Paso
Please check our Conference Website for updates: Click here
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Roselie Johnston, Ministry & Programs Coordinator at 505-255-8786, ext. 101 or rjohnston@nmconfum.com.

2021 Annual Conference Report for the NM Conference

The 146th Annual Conference of the New Mexico Annual Conference was held on June 16 – 18, 2021. It was a virtual conference. Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe presided. The theme of the Annual Conference was based on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 – “For everything there is a season…” Opening Worship featured the song, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” written by Pete Seeger.

Ordination/Commissioning: An ordination service for Rev. Karin Carlson was held on June 9, 2021 in Odessa. She was ordained as a Full Deacon. A commissioning service was held on June 16, 2021 in Albuquerque for Reverends Cazandra Campos-MacDonald and Katherine Salazar, both provisional deacons. Bishop Bledsoe offered the sermon on “Kairos Time.”

No openly gay candidates were approved for ministry during the clergy session.

Seven of our clergy retired.

We memorialized 10 clergy and clergy spouses.

Four online workshops were offered with excellent participation.

The Laity Session featured Comedian and Inspirational Speaker, Michael Jr. who spoke about how important it is to consider your “set up” and deliver your “punchline”. Rev. Blossom Matthews, our Keynote Speaker, used the imagery of finger paint to leave “fingerprints of God” everywhere we go and also used a saturated sponge to exemplify “leaking God’s love”.

We heard from Dr. Socorro De Anda, who will be retiring from her 35 years of exemplary service as President of Lydia Patterson Institute. We also recognized the significant work of retiring Sacramento Camp Executive Director, Bill McCuaig.

Rev. Dr. Randall Partin, our Provost who has been appointed to serve a local church, presented the State of the Conference report. He focused on the ways in which the NMAC has been resilient during this especially difficult year. Several examples: the financial resilience of our Conference & churches; Deacons, Reverends Karin Carlson & Kathy Salazar, who were not able to be ordained/commissioned last year, yet continued to live into their calling regardless; the Board of Laity offered online trainings; Rev. Tweedy Sombrero found creative ways to serve the Four Corners area despite personal tragedy and the lockdown; Sacramento continued their building project and capital campaign without a significant percentage of income, and many more examples.

Conference Lay Leader, Sid Strebeck reminded us that while 2020 seemed like the worst year, there were many blessings amidst the grief and challenges. He reminded us of the Conference theme – “To everything there is a season” and shared Paul’s words in Romans 8:28.

The One Matters Award recipients were Rio Rancho UMC (ABQ District), FUMC-Fort Sumner (Clovis District) and University UMC-Las Cruces (El Paso District).

Seven new Certified Lay Ministers were recognized by the Conference.

During the Episcopacy Committee Update Report, a commemorative Nambe platter was presented to Bishop & Leslie Bledsoe in recognition of their last annual conference with the New Mexico Conference. Bishop & Leslie have planned a farewell tour scheduled for October. Further, transitional meetings have been planned with Bishop Robert Schnase, who will begin episcopal supervision on January 1, 2022.

Adopted Resolutions: Resolution for Commitment to Creation Care – All Churches in the New Mexico Conference and their members shall be encouraged to use healthy, clean and toxic-free cleaning products in their churches, offices, and homes.

A Covenant of Shared Ministry between New Mexico Annual Conference (NMAC) and Conferencia Anual Norcentral (CANCEN)

Resolution for Discontinuance and Transfer – Resurrection United Methodist Church in Odessa, Texas

Resolution to modify the Lay Equalization Formula to include Lay Pastors

Resolution to modify the Lay Equalization Formula to include New Church Starts

Resolution to modify the housing exclusion amount for the Conference Provost – changes Rule #2420.05, modifying the allowable amount of the cash salary for the Provost’s Housing Exclusion up to $10,000.

Resolution for the location of the 2023 New Mexico Annual Conference – in the El Paso District – Las Cruces, NM

No resolutions were presented that did not pass.

Statistics Membership stands at 25,456, down 2,251 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 7,042, down 2,767. Online attendance was 7,522.

Church school attendance stands at 3,226, down 1,154.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2020 was 116, down from 2019 by 298.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2020, 4,874, down from 2019 by 1,609.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2020, 4,912, down from 2019 by 2,794.

Respectfully submitted by Alli Newsom, NM Conference Communications Director

SCJ Episcopal Supervision Announcement

COB Approves Episcopal Supervision Recommendations for SCJ

June 3, 2021 – The Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church has approved episcopal supervision recommendations for the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ), due to the retirement of two bishops. The recommendations were made by the SCJ College of Bishops following consultation with the Jurisdictional and respective Annual Conference Committees on Episcopacy.

This follows decisions by Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe (Northwest Texas-New Mexico) and Bishop J. Michael Lowry (Central Texas) to request retirement effective January 1, 2022, under paragraph 408.2b of The Book of Discipline.

Under Paragraph ¶407 of the Book of Discipline, the Council of Bishops has authority to fill a vacancy for presidential/episcopal supervision of an episcopal area due to death, retirement (¶ 408.1, .2, .3), resignation (¶ 408.4), judicial procedure (¶ 2712), leave of absence (¶ 410.1), or medical leave (¶ 410.4).

After prayer and discernment, the bishops have approved the following recommendations for episcopal supervision:

  • Northwest Texas Conference: Bishop James G. Nunn (Oklahoma Conference/Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference)
  • New Mexico Conference: Bishop Robert C. Schnase (Rio Texas Conference)
  • Central Texas Conference: Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. (Great Plains Conference)

The new roles are effective January 1, 2022 and will continue until new bishops are elected in the SCJ. The SCJ Committee on Episcopacy will make the assignment of bishops once the new bishops are elected at the next regular session of Jurisdictional Conference.