The Conference Office is CLOSED today.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


NM Conference Churches Respond to the Central American Refugee Crisis. 
Holy Collusion - Backpacks of Hope
 
 
 
     History - Annunciation House in El Paso has been serving refugees from Central America since 1976.  In recent months, Central America has experienced an escalation in violence, drug/sex trafficking, and extortion of families. The number of refugees coming across the El Paso border has increased dramatically from 200 - 300 to 600 -1000 per week. Running short on resources and not able to serve the influx, Annunciation House Director, Ruben Garcia reached out to churches near El Paso.  Without adequate temporary hospitality locations, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has no choice but to drop families off on the street after they have been vetted.   
    Local UMC Response - Rev. Nema LeCuyer, Pastor of El Calvario UMC in Las Cruces heard of the need from the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces.  Deacon Lonnie Breseno of the Catholic Diocese had been recruiting host families for the 24 - 72 hours of housing needed before the refugees were transported to their sponsors. Members of several United Methodist Churches including El Calvario and University answered the call. After hosting two families, Nema recognized a need for a way to carry supplies as the refugees traveled by bus or airplane to their sponsors. "Backpacks of Hope" or "Hope Packs" was born. Nema's church collects donations of non-perishable food, snacks, toiletries & toys and meets to put together the backpacks every Tuesday afternoon. This particular program serves about 20 families (about 40 - 80 people) on Tuesday nights.  
     Trial Run - The introduction of "Backpacks of Hope" was December 13th. The immigration services bus arrived at the First Christian Church in the evening as a full moon was rising over the Organ Mountains. Usually, no one is allowed to be at the bus door but Pastor Nema goes where God calls her to be and the other volunteers followed suit. The refugees were welcomed by hug after hug as they walked toward the building to be registered, given any needed clothes, and assigned a host family. They murmured "Gracias de todo" over and over. There were approximately 50 people from deep in Guatemala of predominantly Mayan decent - mostly single or both parents and one or two small children or babies. Some carried plastic bags with clothing or diapers. All looked exhausted and wore clothes they had not changed in more than a month. El Calvario had made a backpack for parents and another for the children. They discovered that they needed to scale back their offering for the following weeks. These people were small in stature and many had to carry children in fabric satchels or merely in their arms. One backpack would be sufficient. As they walked with their hosts into the dark parking lot, the refugees expressed their gratitude with shy smiles or great big grins. Their long journey would end in either Los Angeles or Virginia.
     Interfaith Extreme Hospitality - After all the refugees had entered the building, the Immigration Agent approached Nema with tears in her eyes and hugged her. She had never witnessed refugees being cared for and welcomed with so much love. Several denominations in the Las Cruces/El Paso area have joined forces to serve these strangers in the most beautiful way. The global refugee crisis seems enormous and never ending but this is a need that we can respond to in our own community.
     Protocol - As in the example of the "Good Samaritan", God calls us to recognize suffering and respond without considering consequences, but it is still important to be informed about the humanitarian and logistical process of how refugees enter our country. ICE has a system of protecting the U.S. from possible terrorism and keeping refugees safe. Once across the U.S. border, refugees are detained and vetted to ensure that they are not a threat to the U.S. and that there is a credible threat against their lives if they remained in their country. These people have sponsors who pay for their transportation in order to travel and initially live with them. Refugees must wear ankle bracelets to ensure that they arrive at the agreed upon location. No photographs are allowed once the refugees disembark from the ICE bus.
     How can you help? - The needs of the refugees are safety, rest, sustenance and general hygiene. Non-perishable food, snacks, all sizes of underwear, shoelaces, toiletries and many other items are needed. The Annunciation House website provides a list of needs and donation ideas:   https://annunciationhouse.org/ 
     If you and your church would like to donate money, supplies or volunteer on a Tuesday afternoon to put backpacks together or perhaps create a mission opportunity for your church with Annunciation House, contact Roselie Johnston, NM Conference Mission & Program Coordinator: rjohnston@nmconfum.com or 505-255-8786, ext. 101.
 
Submitted by Alli Costello, Communications Director of the NM Conference.
  alli@nmconfum.com or 505-255-8786, ext. 111

Church Statistics Webinar - RSVP TODAY!

Thursday, January 5th at 10:00 am 
To receive webinar login info, contact Maryann at: frontdesk@nmconfum.com or 505-255-8786

 

 UMC Discipleship Ministries Webinar with Rebekah Simon-Peter 
Why Churches Should Discuss Politics?
Randall & Rebekah presenting during AC 2016

How to talk politics in your church without being unchristian
DATE: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
TIME: 2pm Central
PRESENTERS:   Rebekah Simon-Peter  and   Scott Hughes, Director of Adult Discipleship
In this webinar, Rebekah Simon-Peter and Scott Hughes discuss why churches SHOULD discuss politics. They will explore the relationship between theology and politics as well as several tools churches can use when discussing social and theological issues. These vital tools can help churches create meaningful space for dialogue across the typical partisan divide.

Note: the webinar will be made available in the   webinar archive  for those who are unable to attend the live event.

Bishop Bledsoe & NM Conference Reps Travel Across the Conference

Bishop Bledsoe will be visiting towns across the Conference on a spring itineration. Joining him will be the DS of location, CF&A representative, Insurance/Benefits representative, Randall Partin, Provost, Sid Strebeck, Conference Lay Leader and others.  

The United Methodist Church is facing change and challenge from within.  Simultaneously, we have the opportunity to bring light and grace to an uncertain world without.  The Bishop felt compelled to travel throughout the NM & NWTX Conferences to provide an update and address questions and concerns.  At a time when our differences tend to be more prominent, this will be an opportunity to talk and focus on what binds us together.  Please choose a time and location that is most convenient and join us for a time of sharing.  The Conference wants to hear from you!  Questions?  Contact Randall Partin at (505)255-8786 or randall@nmconfum.com.

Click here for the details 

Important Deadline Reminders

  • All 2016 Tithe Monies must be received by January 10th.
  • Deadline for church statistics is January 20th.

Human Relations Day Offering
El Calvario UMC, Las Cruces - Backpacks of Hope Ministry serving Central American Refugees.

Human Relations Day is January 15, 2017
     Turn on the news or drive around the outskirts of your town and you will find what Jesus called "the least of these." Those living in the margins of society, struggling to survive. People like:
  • An immigrant teenager in Texas' poorest county, being recruited by a local gang
  • A father struggling for sobriety in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • An Oklahoma woman recently released from incarceration looking for work
     Over and over Jesus served people like this, embracing them. And that's what we want to model as the people of The United Methodist Church. To continue the ministry of Jesus we established Human Relations Day as a Special Sunday that calls all of our churches to participate in helping all God's children to realize their potential.
     Will You Support the Ministry of Christ Among Those on the Margins?
     Will you continue to support Human Relations Day? Will you continue nurturing at-risk youth, strengthening communities' self-improvement efforts and advocating for the oppressed?
     Rev. I Maliik Safir, whose church works with those gripped by addiction in Little Rock, sums up the work of Human Relations Day by recalling Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan: "to meet the poor, the disadvantaged and the underserved at the places where others have robbed them and help them to recover from the wounds of social inequality."

Don't forget to sign up for the Messy Church!
Workshop on February 11th at St. John's UMC, ABQ.
Click for more info & to register 

Upcoming Events

January 
Jan. 2 - Conference Office Closed for New Year's Day
Jan. 10 - All 2016 Tithe Monies must be received by Conf Treasurer
Jan. 20 - Church stats deadline
Jan. 27-29 - FUMC-Bloomfield Lay Servant School 
February
Feb. 5-8 - Mid-Year Clergy Retreat - Sacramento
March
March 3-5 - ROC & CCYM - Sacramento
March 26 - Mountainside UMC's 50th Anniversary - Bishop Preaching
April
April 9-15 - NM Conference Pray Our Way Forward Week 

Important Deadlines
January 10 - 2016 Tithe Money Due
January 20 - 2016 Statistics Due


Bishop's Itineration Schedule 
January 21 - FUMC-Roswell - 2:00 pm  
January 28 - FUMC-Perryton - 2:00 pm 
February 4 - St. Paul's-Abilene - 10:00 am 
February 19 - Center Street-Tucumcari - 3:00 pm
March 4 - FUMC-Childress - 10:00 am
March 5 - St. Stephen's-Amarillo - 2:30 pm 
March 11 - El Paso - Trinity-First - 2:00 pm 
March 18 - FUMC-Odessa - 10:00 am 
March 19 - FUMC-Lamesa - 3:00 pm 
March 25 - ABQ - St. John's - 2:00 pm
April 2 - Lubbock - FUMC - 2:00 pm
April 8 - Plainview - FUMC - 10:00 am 
May 13 - FUMC-Farmington - 10:00 am

Annual Conference - May 31 - June 2, 2017
 
 
Click here for the Conference Calendar

Classifieds
Conference Calendar
UMC website
 


RELEVANT, PASSIONATE, AND LIFE-CHANGING CHURCHES

New Mexico Annual Conference  

11816 Lomas Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87112

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Receptionist Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

(800) 678-8786 toll free; (505) 255-8786; (505) 265-6184 fax

 Click here to view our staff listing  

 



 

Please send photos, articles, events, etc. to Alli Costello, Communications Director at alli@nmconfum.com.  Send classified ads to frontdesk@nmconfum.com.