San Antonio Area
Several principles are guiding decisions about districts
Since our Special Session of the Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Annual Conferences, several persons have asked me and the District Superintendents about the process and timeline for determining the boundaries of the seven new districts. I want to share with you our thoughts around this issue and suggest a timeline.
In the 2012 Book of Discipline, paragraph 415.4 gives the Bishop the responsibility of forming the districts after the annual conference has determined the number. On Feb.8 both conferences affirmed seven as the number of districts for the new Río Texas Annual Conference.
Since the recommendation of the Unification Implementation Team was for seven districts, I had already initiated conversation in the Cabinet about this issue. I have not reached a final decision, but these conversations continue to be helpful and productive. We are very close to completing this task.The following principles have guided our thinking and discussion:
As we move into a new annual conference, the least disruption would be helpful, but something new also requires movement into new identities for new mission and ministry. How can we best balance these seemingly competing values?
- The primary focus, as in all Cabinet considerations, must be on maximizing our impact of the mission field. What will help us best keep current congregations vital and reach new people for Christ?
- The demographics of this Area have changed significantly since the current district boundaries in the Southwest Texas Conference were determined 30 years ago. The same shifts have affected the boundaries of the Rio Grande Conference districts.
- There are three identifiable areas of significant growth and two more possibilities emerging.
- It is our desire to keep districts as small as possible in order to bring direct focus on the mission field. The Río Texas Conference plan of organization places major responsibility for congregational vitality and growth at the district level.
- The two major urban centers should remain intact, so far as possible; in order to best promote growth and creativity of mission and ministry.
- There would be great value in aligning churches in consideration of future growth patterns.
These are the most prominent but not the only issues guiding our discussions. We have been prayerful and deliberate in our considerations. The Spirit has been moving among us and enabled us to move forward in creative, new, and helpful directions.
As always we ask for your prayers and understanding as we move into God’s future. Certainly the plan I announce will have its imperfections and disruptions for some. However, it is clearly time for some district realignment for the sake of our mission. May God gtrant us grace and wisdom in these and all things. Should you have comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your District Superintendent.