Response: May 2017 Issue

United Methodist Women in the Rio Texas Conference

United Methodist Women put faith, hope and love into action with radical welcome on the Texas-Mexico border.

United Methodist Women  in the Rio Texas Conference
Lizz Leyva, right, with fellow PAG members Bobby Solomon, center, and Taylorie Bailey at the August 2016 organizational meeting in Houston.

In January 2015 the former Rio Grande and Southwest Texas Conferences of The United Methodist Church came together to become one conference: The Rio Texas Conference. Two conferences are working together build something new for the future. The United Methodist Women of the new Rio Texas Conference are working together to make it happen.

In October 2015 we elected our first Rio Texas Conference United Methodist Women president, Lillie Williams. We are looking forward to the future.

The Rio Texas United Methodist Women Rio Texas Conference understands that we are one. We plan and get excited. Coming together for mission is what we do. Members from the two conferences have many things in common: support missions, love people, love justice, love action. United Methodist Women is turning faith, hope, and love, into action.

Even so, organizing and putting things together was not easy, even with the shared love and passion for mission. Both conferences supported many different projects, and districts and local units continue to serve and advocate within their communities. Many members love to knit blankets or baby caps to take to babies with long hospital stays, or they visit, take cards and blankets to nursing homes. They collect and put together kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief all year round for disasters. Some local units focus on human trafficking, some work with the homeless and other units put together afterschool programs, or backpacks to start first day in school, or supply back-to-school uniforms, etc. Rio Texas United Methodist Women members attend Leadership Development Days and spiritual growth retreats, and many of our focus groups to engage and strengthen our mission. In this way we are like United Methodist Women members throughout the country.

A strong community

United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.

The Rio Texas United Methodist Women contributes to United Methodist Women supported Holding Institute in Laredo, Texas, with money, supplies, hygiene products and food. Local members volunteer at the institute when they are needed as well.

Laredo, Texas, is a beautiful border town. Holding helps the people with love, service and advocacy, providing several programs that can help the community and the people. Through educational initiatives like GED, English as a second language and citizenship classes and community building projects like community gardens, a health clinic, and spiritual and social health, Holding is a great source of support for families and community members.

Many people using Holding’s services come from Central America, mainly Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Holding provides them with clothes, hygiene products, baths and food. They are also reaching out to Cubans on the border with a new ministry in Nuevo Laredo.

United Methodist Women is always in mission like our foremothers, organized to change situations for women and children. This is what Jesus taught us to do. Mission work is never done.

United Methodist Women of the Rio Texas Conference are alive and active and proud to be a United Methodist Women turning faith, hope, and love into action.

Lizz Leyva is director on United Methodist Women Board of Directors from the Rio Texas Conference.

Posted or updated: 5/2/2017 12:00:00 AM

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