Saturday, October 27, 2012

This Week in Texas Methodist History  October 28

Distinguished Guests Attend 2nd Session of New Northwest Texas Conference, Nov. 1, 1911

The last great event that defined Texas annual conference borders was the MECS General Conference of 1910.  It authorized the division of the Northwest Texas Conference into two new conferences.  The eastern portion which contained a majority of the population would become the Central Texas Conference. The western portion would retain the name Northwest Texas Conference which encompassed a vast area of the Panhandle and Lower Plains.  The new Northwest Texas Conference could point to a rapidly expanding population as agricultural settlements grew up along the rail lines. 

The new Northwest Texas Conference had its organizational meeting in Clarendon in the fall of 1910, and it was a grand event, but we should not overlook the 2nd session of the conference one year later in Plainview that attracted a dazzling contingent of MECS dignitaries.  Bishop Atkins, who had presided in 1910 at Clarendon, came back for the 1911 session.  There were three future bishops in attendance.  W.F. McMurry, General Secretary of Church Extension was there.  So was John M. Moore, Department of Home Missions and H. A. Boaz, Vice-President of Southern Methodist University.  (Atkins, Moore, and McMurry had all been at the New Mexico Annual Conference two weeks earlier in Tucumcari.) George Rankin, editor of the Texas Christian Advocate, was there in his journalistic capacity.  John McLean, manager of the Methodist Home came.  A. J. Weeks, who was later to edit the Advocate,  field secretary for Home Missions was also there. 

In addition to the denominational executives and journalists, Texas Methodist educators were well represented.  In addition to Vice-President Boaz, SMU President Robert S. Hyer came to Plainview.  Just a few months earlier he had moved from Georgetown to Dallas to build a new university. He brought an architectural drawing of the first planned building for SMU, Dallas Hall, to the conference.

Although much of the conference talk must have been about the denominational plans to build a great university in Dallas, Southwestern University’s ties to the Northwest Texas Conference remained strong. SU was included in the newly created Central Texas Conference, but it had been in the bounds of the Northwest Texas Conference from its founding until 1910.  President Charles M. Bishop, Dean Claude C. Cody, and Professor Frank Seay all made the 400 mile trip from Georgetown to Plainview to attend Annual Conference. 

We can only speculate about any conversation between Hyer and Cody.  They had been colleagues and then on opposite sides of the “removal controversy.”  That controversy was now over.  It must have been an interesting conversation.


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