ABQ District Superintendent, Craig Cockrell has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2023. Craig has been a pastor in the NM Conference for 41 years. He has served churches in Springer/Maxwell, Fort Sumner, Ruidoso, Deming, Carlsbad, and St. John’s-ABQ. Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe requested his service on the Cabinet in 2018. Bishop Schnase has worked with Craig since January of 2022, “I’ve come to rely on Craig’s ability to speak directly to the heart of many matters. His love for and knowledge of the people of the NM Conference is a great asset. His strong faith is evident in everything he does. I’ll miss working with him but I know that he’s doing what’s best for himself and his family.”

“I suppose I had been considering retirement for some time. Though, if you had asked me even two months ago, I would have said I wanted to continue to help see the NM Conference and the ABQ district through the changes we are undergoing and those we are yet to experience. Susan’s sudden death changed my life in ways I will be trying to understand for a long time. I am not following the advice that I have given throughout my forty years in the full-time ministry: that you should not make any major decisions within 6 months of the death of a loved one. But I woke up early one morning a couple of weeks ago and was struck with the desire to move ahead with whatever God’s plan is next for me. I will miss seeing so many of the faithful on a regular basis, but most of my peers have been retired for several years, and I want to spend time with my sons and focus more on my own health. I am grateful for the years spent with my colleagues and the wonderful people of the New Mexico Conference of The United Methodist Church, and I will carry you all forever in my heart.”

Despite personal health concerns, struggles through the pandemic, and ongoing disaffiliation issues, Craig served the ABQ District, the entire Conference and the Conference Staff with compassion and a grace-filled humor. One of his greatest strengths is the ability to focus on relationships and the Holy Spirit moving in any situation. Craig brings a sharp intellect and understanding into any meeting or conversation. He will be sorely missed. We pray that his time in retirement brings healing and blessing for him and his family.  

The Cabinet is in the process of discerning who will replace Craig. An announcement will be made shortly.