HILL COUNTRY DISTRICT EQUIPPING THE SAINTS 2018 “Bearing Lasting Fruit : Strengthening our Discipleship In Community “ January 20, 2018


8:45-9:15 Registration          9:15 – 9:50 Worship with Rev. Will Rice Preaching

Morning Session I        10:00-11:50 a.m.

 Local Church Finance

I am the New Youth Leader—What Now?

Local Church Trustees
Relief to Recovery
How to be a Strategically Small Church
Leadership in a Changing & Challenging Day

ERT Team on the Ground-You Can too

Morning Session II       10:00-10:50 a.m.
How does Your Church Communicate?
Trusted con Confianza: A Look
at the New RTC Safety Policy
Dive into the Sparkle!
Does Your Church Have An Emergency Plan?

Caring for Congregation & Community

Morning Session III     11:00-11:50 a.m.

Prayer as a Vocation for the Church
Lay Servant Ministry
Local Church Lay Leader
Out of the Box Engaging in Theological Play (Children)

 LUNCH -  SPEAKER-12:00-1:30

   Rev. Karen Horan 

Afternoon Session IV      1:45-3:30 a.m.


Expert’s Eye View of the Disaster & Response to Hurricane Harvey

Afternoon Session V  1:45 p.m.-2:35 p.m.

Methodism: Today’s Winds & Yesterday’s Anchors

Does Your Church Have An Emergency Plan?

Local Church Lay Leader
Trusted con Confianza:
A Look at the New RTC Safety Policy
ERT Team on the Ground-You Can too


  Afternoon Session VI   2:45 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Prayer as a Vocation for the Church
Lay Servant Ministry
Out of the Box Engaging in Theological Play (Children)
Caring for Congregation & Community

205 E. JAMES ST.



BISHOP SCHNASE’S APPEAL FOR PRAYERS, MONEY, and VOLUNTEERS! and share with your congregation.  Bulletin inserts and more resources and info are available at www.riotexas.org/harvey


 Dear Friends,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Much of the state of Texas has suffered from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. News images have shown devastating losses in communities all along the Texas coast, Houston, and inland areas stretching all the way to Bastrop. In some areas, the rainfall and flooding continue.

Thousands of people have lost their homes, tens of thousands have been displaced, and the damage to property is immeasurable.  Our communities will take months, perhaps even years, to rebuild.

Within our Rio Texas Conference, communities such as Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Fulton, Portland, and LaGrange have been especially hard hit.  Along with the communities impacted by the flooding, many of our churches have also been damaged.

Recovery efforts have not yet fully begun because crews are still clearing enough debris and power lines to make some areas accessible. As the disaster passes, the recovery begins.

As United Methodists, it is part of our calling to reach out to those who are suffering and in need. Our Disaster Response Team has already begun deploying Early Response Teams to communities in the Coastal Bend under the leadership of Eugene Hileman. They are equipped with flood buckets, hygiene kits, blankets, tools and equipment provided by your generosity. United Methodist early responders are not always the first to arrive, but they are often the last to leave because we are committed to serving as long at takes to rebuild lives, to rebuild homes, to rebuild communities. Because of the scope of this disaster, we will all need to pull together to reach out. We must hold those who have lost so much close to our hearts.

People are asking, "What can I do to help?"

First, we solicit your prayers.  Pray for those who grieve, who are disconnected from their families, and who face uncertainty.  Pray for first responders, community leaders, police, firefighters, EMT’s, troops, and others.  Pray for the thousands of volunteers who will descend upon the Coastal Bend to lend a hand in restoring these communities.

Second, financial generosity is vital when responding to this scale of need.  There will be a time and place for specific material donations, but our response teams need the immediate flexibility that financial gifts make possible to purchase needed supplies and materials.  Your generous gifts make a difference.

I am issuing a special appeal to the churches of the Rio Texas Conference. I ask that our churches take up a special offering this Sunday and direct it to Rio Texas Conference Disaster Response Fund – Conference ADVANCE #2057.

The dollars given to this fund will go directly to relief and recovery. With your donations, we will partner with The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to sustain this relief effort for the many months ahead. They will allow us to offer immediate relief and to partner with Volunteers in Mission (VIM) and UMCOR for long-term response.

In addition to sharing this appeal in churches, I also ask that you share the appeal via email and social media. Individuals can give online at riotexas.org/give and have their gift applied to their church’s giving toward the Conference Advance.

Also, please review the information below for more ways that you can assist with the recovery effort. We especially need certified Early Responders. If you have not been trained, there are upcoming training opportunities listed here.

Thank you for your desire to help, your willingness to serve, and for your generous response. 

Yours in Christ,

Robert Schnase, Bishop
The Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church



Robert Schnase, Bishop of the Rio Texas Annual Conference makes an appeal to our churches.


New Executive Director Announced of Mission Vitality Center

Bishop Huie Announces Intention to Appoint New Executive Director of Mission Vitality Center

Interim Bishop of Record Janice Riggle Huie has announced her intention to appoint Rev. Laura Merrill as the Executive Director of the Rio Texas Mission Vitality Center, effective September 1. The appointment comes after the election of Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. to the episcopacy by the South Central Jurisdiction. Bishop Saenz will begin serving as bishop in the Great Plains Annual Conference beginning September 1.

Rev. Laura Merrill is beginning her seventh year as superintendent of El Valle District of the Rio Texas Conference.  She is a graduate of Southwestern University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University and currently serves as a member of the Southwestern University Board of Trustees.  As a young adult, Laura served as a missionary in Chile and with the Desert Southwest Conference Border Ministry in Tucson, Arizona.  Her prior local church appointments were in Victoria, Los Fresnos and Wimberley.

Laura is a member of the South Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy and the Commission on General Conference.  She serves on the board of directors at Texas Methodist Foundation and as a trustee at Southwestern.  She has been actively involved in the unification of the Rio Texas Conference.  Most importantly: she is mother to Joe, a sophomore at Boston University; and Caroline, who will begin high school next month.

Nueva Directora del Centro de Vitalidad Misionera a sido nombrada.
La Obispa Interina de la Conferencia Río Texas ha anunciado su intención de nombrar a la Reverenda Laura Merrill como Directora Ejecutiva del Centro de Vitalidad Misionera de la Conferencia Río Texas. El nombramiento será efectivo el 1 de septiembre del 2016. Este nombramiento se produce debido a la elección al episcopado del ahora Obispo Rubén Sáenz, Jr. El Obispo Sáenz iniciará su servicio como obispo en la Conferencia Great Plains el 1 de septiembre del 2016.
La Reverenda Laura Merrill estaba iniciando su séptimo año como Superintendente del Distrito del Valle en la Conferencia Río Texas. Ella se graduó de la Universidad Southwestern y la Escuela de Teología Candler en la Universidad Emory. Ella sirvió a la Iglesia Metodista Unida como misionera en Chile y la Conferencia Desert Southwest, en Tucson, Arizona. Sus nombramientos anteriores fueron en Victoria, Los Fresnos y Wimberley.
Laura es miembro del Comité Episcopal Jurisdiccional de la Conferencia Jurisdiccional Sur Central y la Comisión de la Conferencia General. Ella es miembro de la Junta de Directores de la Fundación Metodista de Texas, miembro de la Junta de Directores de la Universidad Southwestern. Ella formó parte de los trabajos que nos llevaron a la unificación de la Conferencia Río Texas. Mucho mas importante, es el hecho de que ella es la mamá de Joe, quien es iniciará su segundo año en la Universidad de Boston, y Caroline, quien empieza la Preparatoria (High School) este otoño.
     Copyright © 2016 Rio Texas Annual Conference United Methodist Church, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
Rio Texas Annual Conference United Methodist Church
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San Antonio, Tx 78248

George Barnette asks an important question: Remember the Blanco River floods over Memorial Day weekend last year?

Remember the Blanco River floods over Memorial Day weekend last year? The survivors sure do — because many of them are still living it.  

When the TV cameras moved on to something fresher and more exciting, the flooded residents were still stuck with ruined belongings, moldy houses, or no houses at all. The Methodist churches in the area are doing what they can (many of the recovery leaders are Methodists) but their funds are running thin and the end isn’t yet in sight.

Many residents have been taken care of. They were the easy ones…the ones with insurance, money in the bank, or damages light enough to be covered by federal assistance. As always, it’s the poor who received minimal help, who are living in unhealthy houses, who are trying to make a home in a converted carport. Why live like that? Affordable housing is almost impossible to find in Wimberley and San Marcos. 

Many got hit with a second shot last fall, when flooding came through again, and those who had sunk their savings in repairing their homes and replacing possessions saw it happen all over again, but this time without a financial cushion. 

So increasing numbers are giving up and leaving. You can buy their house for the value of the lot, but you still need to rehab — or bulldoze — the house they leave behind. 

A big Community Development Block Grant is on its way, but it goes to local government, and will be spread over lots of other things, like road and bridge repairs, in addition to helping families. Besides, CDBG money has lots of strings attached, making many residents — especially the poor — ineligible for help. 

Our churches, and the umbrella recovery group, the Blanco River Regional Recovery Team, are trying to stretch their dollars by spending for materials and using volunteers for labor. Problem is, the dollars are running short, and volunteers are being distracted by newer headline disasters. 

Dishearteningly, the preponderance of volunteers have come from outside the area. Few teams have come from our own Hill Country District churches. That’s a dangerous precedent to set: reliance on strangers, rather than neighbors, for help in disasters. 

         So what can we do? Send work teams. Send money. 

Work teams: Coordination is through the BRRRT, 512-677-9701, BlancoRiverRegional@gmail.com. They’ll be happy to schedule you in — one person or a dozen, for a few weeks or a few days. Can’t go right now? Call anyway; they’re taking reservations into winter. 

Money: Although the BRRRT will gladly accept whatever comes their way, the official Methodist way is to route your donation through the Rio Texas Conference, Advance Special 2050. You can make sure it goes where it needs to by marking it for Blanco River Flood Recovery, or specify one of our churches involved in the recovery, FUMC San Marcos, El Buen Pastor in San Marcos, and Wimberley UMC. You can specify the community your gift is to be used in. 

Short version: Your neighbors here in our district need your help. They’ve been hanging on for more than a year, but are running out of time and money. You and your church can give them both. Please do.


On the third ballot, with 133 votes, the South Central Jurisdiction of the UMC elected Rev. Dr. Ruben Saenz, Jr. of the Rio Texas Conference as its first newly elected Bishop

South Central Jurisdiction elects Ruben Saenz, Jr. to episcopacy

July 14, 2016 By UMReporter Leave a Comment

by Rev. Becky David-Hensley

On the third ballot, with 133 votes, the South Central Jurisdiction of the UMC elected Rev. Dr. Ruben Saenz, Jr. of the Rio Texas Conference as its first newly elected Bishop of the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference. The SCJ is meeting this week in Wichita, KS.

Rev. Dr. Saenz earned his Master of Divinity degree from SMU Perkins School of Theology in 1997 and his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Perkins in 2009.

He currently serves as the as the Director of Conference Connectional Ministries and Executive Director of the Mission Vitality Center for the Rio Texas Conference. From 2010-2104, he was the Southwest Texas Director of Congregational and New Church Development, where he helped start 11 new faith communities for the Conference.

Prior to his Conference appointments, Rev. Dr. Saenz served several churches, including La Trinidad UMC and El Divino Redentor in El Paso, and Senior Pastor for El Buen Pastor UMC in Edinburg – which became the largest Hispanic-American United Methodist Church in the country with over 900 members under his leadership.

Click here to read his full biography and endorsement from the Rio Texas Conference.


MESSAGE FROM George Barnette:
We have calls for help in four other parts of the country, some requiring specific training, some not.
1. West Virginia, site of the most recent disaster, is starting to schedule relief teams to help residents recover from the devastating flash flooding. The response for the conference there is being headed by Revs Dan and Sue Lowther, 304-642-0897 and -0896, respectively, or email them at dclowther@gmail.com or wsuelowther@gmail.com.
2. Central ...Texas — Granbury and Cisco — are still recovering from their own flooding. The Central Texas Conference is asking for trained Early Response Teams to assist. Their list appeal said they could provide shelter with kitchen and shower facilities, so I assume that’s still available. Good idea to check, though. Leaders are Rev Laraine Waughtal at laraine@ctcumc.org and Sheryl Crumine at sheryl@ctcumc.org.
3. Virginia had tornadoes last February and long-term recovery is going on now, rebuilding homes. They have some open weks this summer and into the fall for incoming work teams, and would love to have you fill one or two. There are worse places than autumn in Virginia. Contact for the Virginia Conference is Forrest White at VirginiaUMVIM@gmail.com.
4. Florida is a good place for the summer, but they’re picky about who comes. Centiury, Fla, is an hour north of Pensacola, and had tornadoes in that February outbreak. Now they need to begin demolition on some homes, and to do that, they ened to clear debris — including trees — off house roofs. They need teams and individuals who are trained and certified as chain-saw operators or as roof tarpers. Florida Conference’s recovery team coordinator is Lynn Dobry, lynn.flrecovery@gmail.com.


Following are the changes in our Local Churches and Extension Ministries. Be sure if you are already in our great district to extend greetings and blessings for these folks in new ministry journeys.
Boerne: FUMC Assoc. Russell Miller
Buchanan Dam: Highland Lakes Jenny Tucker
Canyon Lake: Northshore Assoc. KP Polk ...
Carrizo Springs: FUMC Jacob Hunter
Castroville: Medina Valley Everett McCarley
Leakey UMC Walter Prescher
New Braunfels: FUMC Assoc. Patrick Melton
Assoc. Theresa Booth
Sabinal: FUMC Glenn Luhrs
Uvalde: FUMC Steve Peyton
Walnut UMC Grady Roe
Heart to Heart Hospice Danette Howell
Eden Hill Communities Sarah Currie


Just a reminder – our Hill Country District Conference will be Sunday, May 15, 4:00 p.m. at the Blanco United Methodist Church.

The agenda, the district nominations, and the district budget for 2017 has been emailed to our clergy delegates. They are requested to pass this along to their lay delegates.
There are very few changes in those leading in the various positions and there will be no change proposed for our district budget.

Rev. Bill Johnson and the Committee on District Superintendency are sponsoring a reception following the District Conference that will honor our retiring District Superintendent Bill Henderson. Rev. Johnson has asked, at Rev. Henderson’s request, that any retirement gifts be directed to the new Casa del Buen Samaritano, a new dormitory being purchased for relief work with Mission: Border Hope in Eagle Pass.

Plan to be there at this important meeting and celebrate Rev. Bill Henderson's retirement. Any local church members who would like to attend the reception are invited to come as well.



Welcome to the registration portal for

The 2016 Rio Texas Annual Conference!

American Bank Center - Convention Center

Corpus Christi, TX  June 9-12, 2016


We have partnered with General Council on Finance and Administration to bring annual conference registration into the digital era.

On the following pages, you will have the opportunity to be pre-registered for the conference. Once you are pre-registered, you will just need to check in at Corpus Christi and receive your name badge.

While you are on this site, you will also have a chance to make your room reservation, register for child care, and pre-order your 2016 Annual Conference Journal.


KERRVILLE SAINT PAUL'S UMC PRESCHOOL IS NOW ENROLLING FOR 2016-2017! We offer programs for children ages 2-4. School is in session Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays from 9:00 am-12:30 pm.  Our curriculum integrates developmentally appropriate activities with religious development and is designed to help students make faith connections in their daily lives. Kindergarten readiness is our priority for our preschool graduates. Come join the St. Paul's Preschool family!