Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History May 22

81st (and last) Texas EUB Annual Conference Meets in Wichita Falls, May 22-25, 1967

Fifty-four delegates to the 81st session of the Oklahoma-Texas Annual Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church met in Wichita Falls May 22-25, 1967. Twenty-five preachers and twenty-nine lay delegates conducted the business of the conference which had only a few churches scattered across such a vast area. There were eight EUB churches in Texas; the host church in Wichita Falls; Greenway Trinity in Houston; Lissie; El Campo; Post Oak Zion (30 miles se of San Antonio);, Temple; San Antonio Grace; and San Antonio First.

The main issue facing the conference was, of course, the proposed EUB-Methodist Church union. The presiding bishop, Paul Milhouse, asked Superintendent Roderick Gray for a membership report. Gray reported that since 1956, the year the EUB Church was created by merger from its predecessor denominations, and the Oklahoma-Texas Conference was formed from the Texas and Oklahoma Conferences, membership had dropped by 27.5%. Corresponding declines occurred in average worship attendance and Sunday School attendance.

Immediately after the grim statistical report, the conference considered the proposed union. The vote was forty-nine in favor, six opposed, and two abstentions. The other thirty-six EUB annual conferences were also voting on union. When all votes from all conferences were tallied, the plan of union carried by seventy-one per cent. (A two-thirds majority was required.) Annual Conferences in the Methodist Church were also voting on union. They cast ninety percent of their votes in favor.

Approval by both denominations paved the way for the creation of the United Methodist Church on April 23, 1968 in Dallas. Former EUB churches and pastors in Texas became dispersed in several annual conferences. Lissie and Greenway Trinity became part of the Texas Conference. The Southwest Texas Conference received El Campo and the San Antonio churches. Central Texas received Temple, and North Texas received Wichita Falls.

Paul Milhouse, the bishop who presided over the final session of the Oklahoma-Texas Annual Conference of the EUB, was assigned to the Oklahoma area of the United Methodist Church in 1968. He held that position until his retirement in 1980.


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