News & Announcements

Bishop Schnase Letter Regarding Postponed GC

Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yesterday, the Commission on General Conference, a diverse group of clergy and laity in the United Methodist Church, announced that General Conference will be postponed until 2024. (Statement) Any significant announcement such as this evokes many emotions. The commission stated that global vaccination issues and visa backlogs for delegates from Africa, Europe, and the Philippines as their primary reasoning for this decision. Other obstacles, such as translation challenges and limited internet capabilities in some areas, make it impossible to hold General Conference virtually. Our world changes so quickly and it causes the church to pivot and adapt, and I know this can be frustrating for everyone.

This past fall I participated in a Council of Bishops meeting where we pledged to help navigate a path forward in the United Methodist Church. Part of that document states, “we must be one people, rooted in scripture, centered in Christ, serving in love and united in the essentials.” Council of Bishops document

Over the past several months, I’ve spent much time visiting with clergy, laity, and congregations in the New Mexico Conference. I’ve appreciated many conversations that have run deep as people shared their hearts about their love of the church and their anxieties about the future. I also have shared my heart on General Conference related issues during in-person visits, Zoom conversations, and through videos. I made a commitment to walk with pastors and congregations with the highest level of integrity and care and mutual respect during these months to come. I expect the same from our own conference leadership, cabinet, and pastors. I acknowledge the disappointment for many with the news of another postponement, but it is my hope that together we might offer our best to one another as we seek to follow Christ.

As we have seen in these past few weeks, people across the globe need the love of Christ. We have great opportunities to show this love around the corner and around the world. Let us remain focused on our primary mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Join me in praying that together, we seek to find ways to move forward with love and grace.

Bishop Robert Schnase
The New Mexico Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church

Robert Schnase is the NMAC Bishop Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Bishop Robert Schnase begins his episcopal supervision of the New Mexico Annual Conference starting on January 1, 2022.  This follows the retirement of Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe.  He filmed this video in the form of a greeting: Click Here

We are very excited about beginning a relationship in ministry with Bishop Schnase and exploring what God has in store for the New Mexico Conference under his leadership.

United Methodists Reach Settlement in Boy Scouts’ Bankruptcy Case

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information

December 21, 2021

United Methodist leaders have reached a settlement in the matter of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) pending bankruptcy proceedings. Upon final court approval, the settlement would absolve any claims of sexual abuse that may have occurred in congregation-sponsored Scouting programs.

Under the terms of the settlement, United Methodists would raise and give $30 million over a three-year period into a fund that will be utilized to compensate survivors, and United Methodist congregations that charter Scout troops and packs would be released from all abuse claims involving Scouting activities. A team has been formed to identify strategies and materials that may be used to raise the funds. The church would also agree to work for the healing of survivors and recommit to work toward ending sexual abuse of young people. Through the General Commission on United Methodist Men, United Methodists will work with the BSA to continue to ensure Scout safety and grow Scouting ministry as part of its mandate through The Book of Discipline.

“We are sorry for what occurred and are praying for all those who experienced harm through Scouting activities. We are committed to the protection of children and youth, and the United Methodist Council of Bishops will be working with the church, the Survivor Working Group and BSA to address policies, programs, and procedures in order to keep Scouts safe from abuse,” said Bishop John Schol, chair of the UMC leadership team created to support the United Methodist chartering organizations in the bankruptcy matter.

The settlement follows months of mediation by an Ad Hoc committee of bishops, chancellors and general agency employees that has been advocating for United Methodist interests.

“I want to thank everyone who has been working through the mediation process for the healing and just resolution of the survivors,” said Schol. “Our settlement agreement has the support of both the BSA and the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice.”

The United Methodist Church has long worked proactively to prevent child abuse. The percentage of claims in the last 20 years potentially related to United Methodist congregations’-sponsored scouting units is less than 1 percent of all UMC claims.

Under the terms of the agreement, denomination leaders will intensify efforts to prevent and raise awareness of child sexual abuse.

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has committed to lead the church in carrying out the following:

  • Work with all United Methodists to raise funds for the Survivor Trust Fund.
  • Tell the story of harm done to survivors through a series of articles to be published by the denomination and by each U.S. annual conference to draw attention to child sexual abuse and call upon the church to be vigilant in working to prevent child sexual abuse in churches, homes and the community.
  • Carry out a denomination-wide review of all Safe Sanctuaries and other policies to safeguard young people from sexual abuse and update policies as necessary and ensure the policies are being followed.
  • Provide opportunities for sexual abuse survivors to share their experiences with United Methodist leadership if they choose to do so.
  • Work with all United Methodist ministries and with the Boy Scouts of America to continue to make programs safe for all young people.
  • Provide leadership to help all BSA chartering organizations to make a $100 million contribution to the Survivor Trust Fund.
  • Participate as a member of the Survivors Working Group

The Ad Hoc Committee recommends that churches who filed a proof of claim vote “yes” on the plan and for those who previously voted “no,” the Ad Hoc Committee recommends congregations change their vote to “yes.” An email from conference leadership will be sent to churches that filed a proof of claim on how to vote “yes” and how to change a vote from “no” to “yes.”

NMAC & CANCEN Sign Covenant

On Thursday October 28, 2021 a group from the New Mexico Annual Conference (NMAC) led by Bishop Earl Bledsoe met with Bishop Rodolfo Rivera and conference leaders from the Northcentral Annual Conference (CANCEN) of the Methodist Church of Mexico. We met in a local venue in Juarez, Mexico to have a signing ceremony of the “Covenant of Shared Ministry between the NMAC and the CANCEN” and to strengthen the fellowship between the representatives of both conferences.
A powerful moment during the ceremony occurred when Bishop Rivera gave Bishop Bledsoe the official lapel pin of the Methodist Church of Mexico. Bishop Bledsoe, in return, gave Bishop Rivera his Episcopal ring. Other gifts were exchanged among the participants to symbolize our mutual partnership.
The Covenant Agreement will: a). allow the sending of delegates to the Annual Conferences with voice and vote privileges in order to learn from each other and strengthen ties between the conferences. B). establish ties between the educational institutions of CANCEN and the Lydia Patterson Institute of El Paso TX. c). create opportunities for joint missional work. d). open the opportunity to have pulpit exchanges across the border.
This Covenant Agreement was properly presented and officially approved in the month of June of 2021 by the respective Annual Conferences of both entities, and its implementation has been delegated to a binational Border Ministry Team which will organize and coordinate all ministry efforts outlined in the Agreement.
Let us pray for a successful ministry and a strong witness of the Gospel in the border region through the efforts of the Border Ministry Team representing both conferences.

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!)