News & Announcements

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.

Provost Appointments

From Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe: On behalf of the cabinets of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Annual Conferences, I am delighted to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr. Randal Partin as the new Senior pastor of St. John’s UMC, Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Partin will assume the position effective July 1, 2021 with the next round of clergy appointments.

Rev. Partin currently serves as Provost of the New Mexico Annual Conference and under his leadership the conference made great strides in completing the Vision 20/20 strategic plan enabling the conference to fulfill the vision of bringing about passionate, relevant, and life-changing congregations. As Provost, he did an outstanding job of leading the New Mexico Connectional Ministries to a higher level of competence and effectiveness. He led the New Mexico Conference in implementing the Tithing Model, giving the local church the option of tithing their income for Connectional Ministries. He assisted the bishop in developing an effective appointment process based on values, gifts, and graces, and helping church leadership reach its mission field. He served as a leader in Ecumenism, relating to other denominational judicatories and helping to develop a cohesive missional strategy for ecumenical ministries.

Prior to the Provost appointment, he served New Mexico Conference churches in Farwell, Texas and Las Cruces, NM. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Colorado and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. Prior to answering the call to ministry, Randall taught Political Science at the University of New Mexico. Randall and his wife Dr. Susan Brumbaugh have two adult children, Eli and Sophie.

W. Earl Bledsoe announced the appointment of the Reverend Dr. Eduardo Rivera as the new Provost of the New Mexico Annual Conference, effective July 1, 2021.  Dr. Rivera currently serves as the Superintendent of the El Paso District. He currently serves as the Dean of the New Mexico Cabinet.

Rev. Dr. Eduardo (Eddie) Rivera was born in Monterrey, Mexico and was raised in a clergy Methodist family. He received God’s Call to ordained ministry in the summer of 1979 and was ordained an Elder of the Methodist Church of Mexico in 1988. He transferred his credentials to the New Mexico Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1998.

He attended the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas where he learned his English. He earned his Bachelor of Theology Degree from the Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley in Monterrey, México (1985), a Master of Theology Degree (1992) and a Doctor of Ministry Degree (1997) from Candler School of Theology-Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rev. Dr. Rivera has been in full-time ministry for almost 40 years in both Mexico and the United States, ministering in the Conferencia Anual Oriental (Mexico), Southern Illinois Conference (now Illinois Great Rivers Conference), the Northwest Texas Conference and in the New Mexico Conference.

Rev. Dr. Rivera attended the 2008 and 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences as a Reserve Delegate and he was the Head of the New Mexico Delegation for the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences and for the Special General Conference in February of 2019. He is a Reserve Delegate of the New Mexico Delegation for the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences.

Eddie is married to Hilda, a retired Professional Educator. Their daughter Lizet and son-in-law Derek Dickinson are Attorneys who live and work in Illinois. Eddie and Hilda are the proud grandparents of their 3 year-old granddaughter Olivia.

NM Conference Lay Leader, Sid Strebeck added: “Randall has been a tremendous Provost who has led us to new levels of making disciples and we’ll miss him, but now St John’s will be greatly blessed with their new pastor.  Eddie will bring a new set of gifts and graces to the Provost position and lead us to even greater levels, and Pam will be awesome as the new El Paso District Superintendent.

Once again, I’ve been blessed to witness how well our Connectional system and Appointive process works.”

For more information or questions please contact the Bishop’s office at (505) 255-8786 or email bishopbledsoe@nmconfum.com

 

Bishop Bledsoe’s Announcements Regarding COVID-19

April 30, 2020

I want to thank the members of the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church on the way in which you have responded to the Coronavirus Pandemic in our area. Your commitment to the mission of the church is exemplary. It speaks volumes to the leadership of both clergy and laity in our midst. I am also appreciative for the work of our front-line workers, i.e. the healthcare workers, first responders and those who continue to make our communities and our world function. In this extraordinary time, many of you have found creative ways for worship, bible study, prayer and missional outreach. We continue to pray for comfort for those affected by the pandemic. Some among us have lost loved ones and could not gather in great numbers for a homegoing celebration. We also pray for the farmers, ranchers, oil producers and small business owners whose livelihoods have been devastated by the effect of COVID-19.

I am asking each of our congregations to practice safe distancing and to remain in our homes following the recommendations of the state and local emergency declarations, as well as the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and our doctors and scientists. Some areas will reopen faster than others, however I am suggesting that each church go through a discernment period of asking the critical questions needed to keep our congregations and communities safe before returning and how best to live into a “new normal”.  The process of re-opening will, undoubtedly, be gradual and different in each locale.  I suggest we seek answers to the following questions:  How can we keep our congregation and communities safe? Even as we re-open, will our congregation feel safe?  What must we do to be safe and help our people feel safe? What new skills or means of connection have we learned or implemented that we should continue even as we re-open? What blessings have we experienced during this time, and how can we turn those blessings into ministries? What new ways will we do mission and outreach? What specific ways can we bring hope to those affected by the shutdown?

The Conference and district offices will continue to work remotely and stand ready to assist with any needs during this period of transition. The cabinet continues to meet with me. Appointments for this year will continue as announced effective July 1, 2020. We ask for a period of grace on the move date. The superintendents will work together to provide a smooth transition of leadership.

All United Methodist Church conferences have been postponed or rescheduled for this year:

  • The 2020 General Conference scheduled will be moved to the end of August 2021. The new prospective dates are August 31-September 10, 2021.
  • The South Central Jurisdictional scheduled for July has been moved to November 2021. The new dates are currently being negotiated.
  • The June 2020 Joint New Mexico and Northwest Texas annual conference scheduled for Lubbock, Texas has been postponed. NWTX will meet Saturday August 15, 2020 in Lubbock, Texas. The New Mexico Conference will meet Friday evening and Saturday, August 28-29 in Roswell, NM. We will only deal with the essentials needed to carry on the work of each conference. A detailed schedule will be shared by the New Mexico Conference Provost and the Northwest Texas Conference Director of Mission and Administration.

Leslie and I are postponing our retirement until a new bishop can be assigned by the SCJ Episcopacy Committee. We will continue to go where invited, eat what you eat and sleep where you sleep, journeying in ministry with you.  Let us continue to pray for one another and for our church in the world. May God continue to bless and keep each of you.

Bishop W. Earl & Leslie J. Bledsoe