The New Mexico General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation has endorsed two candidates for the office of bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church – Rev. Dr. Randall Partin, Senior Pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church, Albuquerque, and Rev. Dr. Eduardo (Eddie) Rivera, Conference Provost/Director of Congregational Vitality.

The delegation interviewed both candidates on August 8, 2022, and reviewed materials they submitted in their discernment of possible endorsement. After prayer, discernment, and rich conversation, the delegation decided to endorse both candidates on August 11, 2022.

Partin is the first elected clergy delegate and is serving on the delegation for the first time. Rivera is a reserve delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference and was the first elected clergy delegate of the 2016 delegation. Rivera has also received endorsements from the Northwest Texas Conference and MARCHA.

Rivera and Partin will join a small group of other endorsed candidates being considered for three open positions in the South Central Jurisdiction, which consists of twelve annual conferences covering eight states. Elections will be held in early November 2022 in Houston, Texas. It is unusual, but not unprecedented, for an annual conference to endorse more than one candidate. Sid Strebeck, the first-elected lay person in the delegation commented on the strength of leadership in the New Mexico Annual Conference to have raised “two uniquely qualified individuals that have discerned their call to serve the church in this way.”

Partin began his time in New Mexico as a professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico until he followed the call to ministry he first experienced during graduate school. Following seminary, he returned to the New Mexico Annual Conference, serving churches of various sizes. In 2015, he began serving with Bishop Bledsoe as the Conference Provost, which includes responsibilities as the Director of Connectional Ministries and the Director of Congregational Vitality. During his six-year tenure in this role, he served as a member of the cabinet, chaired or served on nearly every conference committee, represented the bishop on ecumenical bodies, and was elected chair/president of the Association of Directors of Connectional Ministries. His inclusive leadership and open communication has led to great trust among conservative and progressive colleagues. He returned to ministry in the local church in 2021 and has been navigating the post-COVID journey with his congregation. He and his wife, Susan Brumbaugh, have served as volunteer staff at every General Conference since 1996. In 2016, he was the Legislative Committee Coordinator, and Brumbaugh was the Coordinator of the Calendar. Partin and Brumbaugh are the parents of two young adult children and are active musicians.

Partin says, “Friends, family members, and colleagues have always been foundational in my discernment process. I am so very grateful for the support and encouragement I have received in this particular season of discernment.  My prayers for us all are for deep wisdom and holy insight as we navigate our way through this present moment in the Church”.

Rivera has served churches in the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Conferences, Mexico, and as a Missionary/Executive Director of Hispanic Ministry in Illinois. He served as the District Superintendent of the El Paso District for five years and served as the Dean of the Cabinet, New Mexico Conference. In his current role, he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, McMurry University, and as a member of the Board of Directors, Wesleyan Investive and Texas Methodist Foundation. Additionally, Rivera is the Vice-Chair and member of the Board of Trustees of Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas. Rivera was a reserve delegate to the 2008 Jurisdictional Conference for New Mexico, a reserve delegate to the 2012 Jurisdictional Conference for Northwest Texas, was head of delegation for the 2016 and 2019 General Conferences for New Mexico and is a reserve delegate to the (postponed) 2020 Jurisdictional Conference. He and his wife, Hilda, a retired professional educator, have recently celebrated their 39th anniversary. Their daughter and son-in-law live and work in Nashville, Tennessee. Eddie and Hilda have one granddaughter “who has become the joy of our lives”.

Rivera says, “I am humbled and honored with the decision of the New Mexico Delegation to endorse my candidacy to the episcopacy. As a member in Full Connection of the New Mexico Conference since 1998, I consider it a privilege to represent this conference and most importantly, to serve God in any way He wants me to. I covet your prayers for me and Hilda as we go through this process always trusting that God knows what is best for all of us”.

The New Mexico delegation joins their prayers with others across the jurisdiction as episcopal leadership is elected to lead us into the future.

Submitted by Rev. Dr. Pam Rowley, Jurisdictional Conference Clergy Delegate