The South Central Conference now has a new Conference Minister, Phil Hodson.  Phil comes to us from the Wichita United Church of Christ in Wichita, Kansas.  During his ministry, the Wichita church formed from two congregations that merged and entered a new period of growth. Phil brings ideas and commitment about growing our Conference, along with experience in church planting.  He went to seminary at Perkins School of Theology at SMU and came into the UCC from the United Methodist Church. He has already spent time in our Conference before his official start date in addition to meeting regularly with interim Conference Minister Campbell Lovett. Phil and his wife and four children are moving to Galveston. He anticipates traveling throughout our Conference and churches to connect with all of us. He will bring new ideas and wisdom.  It is an exciting time for the South Central Conference.  Let’s give Phil a big Texas welcome!

    I also give thanks for the wise and excellent guidance and leadership of Campbell Lovett during this challenging year in the life of all of our churches. He has given stable leadership with his deep base of experience.  Campbell is continuing to help with the transition.  Let us send him off with our prayers for a rich life going forward and with gratitude for his ministry.

    Starting in July, Charles Stark began a second interim ministry in the Heart of Texas Association. Charles is now the interim minister of St. Peter’s Church of Coupland.  In addition to his many years at Slumber Falls, Charles has served Lyons Evangelical, Faith UCC in Bryan, Friends Congregational, and, most recently (as interim), St. John’s Burton. Charles and his wife, Bonnie, will be living in Coupland.  We give thanks for the ministry Charles and St. Peter’s will have together.

    We also welcome Christine Tata, as I previously shared, as interim minister at Trinity Church of Austin.  Christine brings an earlier background in ministry, having served in this Conference in Dallas.  She has worked in business and human resources, and has done a substantial amount of supply preaching.  We rejoice with Christine and with Trinity as they begin their time together.

    The Congregational Church of Austin is beginning a new era in the church’s life as Amelia Fulbright begins her ministry there as the Designated Term Pastor.  As some of you know, Amelia had her Ecclesiastical Council recently among us through the Privilege of Call process, supported by Congregational Church where she is a member.  Earlier, she started the Labyrinth Progressive Student Ministry in Austin (for University of Texas and other college-age students) and also served as the Associate Pastor of University Baptist Church in Austin. Congregational (my home church) is excited to welcome Amelia on board.

    Finally, I announce with sadness that Rev. Bill (Hudson) Phillips died recently, surrounded by his wife, Betty, and his daughters, Stephanie and Katy.  Bill, a retired minister who served churches in Friona, Texas, and in New Orleans, as well as in campus ministry for a number of years, was part of marches and lunch counter sit-ins during the Civil Rights movement.  He and Betty faced danger and stood firm for equal rights.  Bill also served in social work for several years in Austin and was a gifted poet.  I give profound thanks to God for his full and rich life.

Blessings in Christ,
Liz Nash, Association Minister