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