2023 North Texas Annual Conference

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The North Texas Annual Conference was held at Plano’s Christ United Methodist Church, with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., presiding.

Theme: “Be Strong! Take Heart! Hope in the Lord!”

Guest speakers and memorable points or quotes by speakers:

  • Laity Session
    • Nathan Lewis
      • “Today, here with you, is the first time I have been in a church in over two years. I think a lot of Gen Z shares a similar experience of leaving the church – and a lot probably left sooner than I did. We left because the church looks more like the world than the Jesus who turned the world upside down. So we don’t come back.”
      • “Gen Z is already out there searching for Jesus, though a lot of them wouldn't say that. They would say they are searching for justice, for mercy, for love, for kindness, for compassion, for hope, for light. For Jesus.”
    • Gen Z Panel: Maeson Bryant, Jillian Jackson, Nathan Lewis
  • Opening Worship
    • The Rev. Estee Valendy, Keller UMC
      • “Resilience is a communal practice and that is good news for us as United Methodists. The land of the living is in our connection. This is where we see the Lord’s goodness.”
  • General Session
    • The Rev. Trey Wince and The Rev. Dr. Aqueelah Ligonde of Ministry Incubators
      • “There is an entire generation who is hearing God’s voice at a frequency that many of us cannot hear. And I think we would be wise to step into our role … and help usher them into a space of recognizing God’s voice for what it is. We have a role in this, and young generations have a role in this, and I think we can do something pretty beautiful together.” – The Rev. Trey Wince
    • Gen Z Panel: Nathan Lewis, Isaiah “Zay” McDaniels, Shirley Ramirez, Jorja Sipe
      • “We are the generation of movement – whether it be good or bad. We are a generation of large movement. We don’t sit down and take everything that is given to us. If we want something done, we will get it done one way or another.” – Shirley Ramirez
      • “Over the past few years, it has begun to really permeate every decision that I make. If I want to see a movie, if I want to go to the mall, I have to ask myself ‘Is this worth dying for?’.” – Nathan Lewis on what keeps him up at night

Main actions enacted by the conference:

  • Passed resolutions regarding:
    • Furthering the Connection
    • Historical Site and Heritage Landmark Recognition for Cox Memorial Chapel at Highland Park UMC
    • Support of the UMC Social Principle on Abortion
    • Support for Members of the NTC Experiencing Disaffiliation
    • Support for the Removal of Discriminatory Policies
    • Affirmation and Call to Center Justice and Empowerment
    • Encouraging Leadership with Integrity
    • Support of Creating a U.S. Regional Conference
    • Trans Youth and Families
    • Action on Gun Violence
    • Petition General Conference for Deacons to Administer the Sacraments
  • Heard but did not adopt the following resolution:
    • Bearing with One Another in Love in a Season of Division

Resolutions or actions related to the postponed 2020 General Conference, now set for 2024:

  • #5: Resolution Supporting the Removal of Discriminatory Policies
  • #6: Affirmation and Call to Center Justice and Empowerment
  • #7: Resolution Encouraging Leadership with Integrity
  • #8: Resolution in Support of Creating a U.S. Regional Conference
  • #12: Resolution to Petition General Conference for Deacons to Administer the Sacraments

Disaffiliating churches:

  • Oak Grove UMC
  • Antelope UMC
  • Becker UMC
  • Cooper UMC
  • Enloe UMC
  • Kavanaugh UMC
  • Pine Forest UMC

Churches closing:

  • Ben Franklin UMC
  • Chicota UMC
  • Lone Star UMC
  • Seagoville UMC
  • Ferris God’s Kingdom UMC
  • Jubilee UMC
  • Pleasant Mound UMC
  • Annona UMC (merged with Boxelder UMC)

In light of the conversations around unification of the North Texas, Central Texas and possibly Northwest Texas conferences, the North Texas Annual Conference will present a 2024 budget for approval at a special called Annual Conference in fall 2023.

The conference did not have to elect replacement delegates.

Names of delegates for both General Conference and jurisdictional or central conference and designation of lay or clergy:

General Conference

  • Clayton Oliphint (C)
  • Stan Copeland (C)
  • Cammy Gaston (C)
  • Maria Dixon Hall (C)
  • Kelly Carpenter (L)
  • Kenneth Wolverton (L)
  • Shandon Klein (L)
  • Jessica Vittorio (L)

Jurisdictional Conference

  • Rachel Griffin (C)
  • Ron Henderson (C)
  • Ricky Harrison (C)
  • Rob Spencer (C)
  • Tim Crouch (L)
  • Kathleen Pryor (L)
  • Collin Johansson (L)
  • Linda Parks (L)


  • Edlen Cowley (C)
  • Edgar Bazan-Garza (C)
  • Jenna Johnson (C)
  • Andy Stoker (C)
  • Sally Vonner (L)
  • Laura Hudec (L)
  • Keri Lynn Lucas (elected Lay, now Clergy)


  • 10 ordinands
  • Average age: 42


  • 4 commissionees
  • Average age: 33

Number of clergy retired: 12

Membership stands at 116,371, down 3,106 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 31,789, up 689.

Church school attendance stands at 17,230, up 1,084.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2022: 1,976, up 325 from 2021.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2022: 79,913, up 4,564 from 2021.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2022: 43,583, up 6,735 from 2021.

Submitted by Pamela Hughes, conference director of communications


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