An official with the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church has been named as the new bishop of the Great Plains Conference.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. was announced late Friday night, at the closing of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita as the bishop to succeed Scott J. Jones, who served in Kansas since 2004 and in Nebraska since 2012. Bishops have a traditional term limit of 12 years. Jones was named as the new bishop of the Texas Conference, based in Houston.
A Texas native, Saenz will be consecrated in services Saturday – his 55th birthday.
Saenz was elected on the third ballot on Thursday during the jurisdictional conference. He was the first of three new bishops to be elected. He eventually was joined by James "Jimmy" Nunn and Robert "Bob" Farr. A roar of cheers filled the banquet hall when Saenz's name was read as the new bishop of the Great Plains. Besides the voting delegation, dozens of United Methodists attended the conference and were present when assignments were announced.
Saenz and his wife, Maye, took time to greet the Great Plains contingent that gathered at the back of the hall.
Speaking at a news conference after his election Thursday, Saenz said he didn’t set out to be an episcopal leader, but over the years, people have talked to him about the possibility of putting his gifts to use as a bishop.
“I think of it as drops in a sponge,” he said. “The first 100 drops are insignificant but after a while, it gets heavy and saturated. It was the affirmation of many people I’ve been associated with over the years.
“It has been a long season of discernment.”
Saenz said he didn’t want to be elected just because he is Hispanic but because delegates discerned that he would serve effectively as an episcopal leader.
“We are leaders for all peoples,” he said. - See more at: http://www.greatplainsumc.org/newsdetail/ruben-saenz-jr-assigned-to-the-great-plains-conference-5366663#sthash.sHV6NqkM.dpuf