Saturday, June 03, 2006

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 4

Shortest Conference Year Ever Ends June 1947

The Texas Annual Conference had always met in the winter and fall. The practice dated to the organization of the conference on December 25, 1840. There were practical reasons for meeting in the fall and winter. Although winter travel may have been more difficult in Texas, it was impossible in the northern states. Bishops already faced daunting challenges in getting to their conferences. By convening the northern conferences in the spring and the southern ones in the fall and winter, bishops could make their episcopal rounds more efficiently. No one--north or south--wanted to convene in a city in the summer time. Cities as far north as Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati were subject to mosquito borne epidemic disease well into the modern era.

Winter sessions of the Texas Conference also meshed with the agricultural calendar.
Both rural and town churches were much more likely to be able to "pay out" on their apportionments at the end of cotton ginning season than at any other time of the year.

As the Texas Annual Conference adjourned on Nov. 8, 1946, everyone was aware an era was ending. The next session was scheduled to convene on June 10, 1947 at First Methodist Church in Houston. The first week of June, 1947, must have seemed strange to the preachers and lay delegates as they prepared their reports and packed their bags. The academic calendar had become more important that than the agricultural calendar. Conference was now fixed for the beginning of summer .


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