This past week’s Central Texas Conference annual conference in Mansfield brought several big moments for First Church Fort Worth.
Darcy Deupree was elected for the second time as lay delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, which will be held in July of 2016. This is the regional body of the United Methodist Church that chooses new bishops.
In addition to Darcy, Dr. Jim Connor, a former member of First Church clergy who now leads the Genesis UMC, was also elected as delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference.
Casey Langley was commissioned as a provisional deacon, and will now begin her residency program, which is the final step to her ordination.
Dr. Tim Bruster was the first clergy to be elected as a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2016, and in this role he will lead the entire Central Texas Conference delegation to General Conference 2016. This is a pivotal leadership role in our conference and in our denomination nationwide. In the past, it has been assumed that the first elected clergy delegate would be a candidate for the office of Bishop in the church, as Dr. Bruster was in 2008 when he led the delegation the first time. After discerning whether he is called to that office, he has decided that he will not be an episcopal candidate in 2016.
“This is a critically important time in the life of our denomination,” Dr. Bruster said, “and I am pleased to lead our delegation from the Central Texas annual conference as we prepare for General Conference 2016.” Dr. Bruster says that because of new rules, our Annual Conference had the option of electing its delegates a year earlier. This gives the delegation more time to thoroughly understand and discuss the issues faced at General Conference 2016. “This is a very strong delegation,” he adds, “and with more time for preparation and experience working together as a team, we expect this group to provide outstanding leadership at General Conference.”
Senior Associate Pastor Reverend Linda McDermott says that Dr. Bruster’s election as lead delegate is an affirmation of the Central Texas Conference’s respect and trust in his leadership, especially as significant issues come before the General Conference. “It is a tremendous honor from the conference to be elected to any of these delegations,” she said, “And especially to lead the entire delegation. This honors Tim not only as a person, but also his leadership of this congregation. Because our Senior Pastor will lead the entire delegation, that means our church plays a significant role in our Central Texas Conference and in our denomination across the United States.”
During the 2014 Central Texas Annual Conference meeting, the members of the Annual Conference elected a total of 22 representatives from the Central Texas Conference, including 11 clergy and11 laity, to serve as our delegates and alternates to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. We will have four clergy and four lay persons in the General Conference delegation, four each for the South Central Jurisdictional Conference and three alternates.