Convención celebrates 100 years of UFM, approves bylaw changes


SAN ANTONIO –The 100th Anniversary of Union Femenil Misionera de Texas (UFM) was celebrated during Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas in San Antonio June 25-27. The sanctuary of Trinity Baptist Church was filled as past presidents lined the stage and Raquel Contreras, director of Casa Bautista de Publicaciones in El Paso, delivered a message. 

Primera Iglesia Bautista San Marcos, the birthplace of UFM, hosted a celebration on June 24. UFM Executive Director Bea Mesquias and her husband, Richard, also presented a $100,000 endowment in recognition of the anniversary to further the ministry’s impact. The couple saw a great need for a home health service in South Texas and in 1994, began Bee First Primary Home Care and Hospice. Mesquias served as a past president of UFM and was the first woman president of Convención.

“God has opened many doors for us. The money goes and comes and we give it back to the Lord,” she said. 

Additional gifts celebrating the anniversary included 200 pairs of shoes and a large display of baby items, donated to partner mission endeavors Buckner’s Shoes for Orphan Souls and Embrace Grace.

More than 1,200 were in attendance at the three-day annual gathering, which included tracks for children, youth, young latino leaders, English-speakers and ministers. Convención officers were elected during the business session on Tuesday, including First Vice President Vince Gonzales, North Dallas Family Church in Carrollton; Second Vice President Carlos Valencia, Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo of Fort Worth; and Secretary Carmen Gaytan, Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen. President Rolando Aguirre, Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, will serve a second year in his position. 

In other business, three bylaw changes were approved by messengers. The first amendment will allow Convencion officials to move the date of the annual gathering as needed, including moving the meeting to July 29-31, 2018, for the Texas Baptists Family Gathering. The second amendment granted authority to the Executive Board to institute a registration fee for Convención attendees beginning in 2019. The messengers also approved a process of membership consisting on two layers: affiliated and cooperating churches. The first group will continue to participate in the various activities and initiatives of Convención but will not have the privilege of sending messengers. The second one will provide regular and systematic financial support and its members will be able eligible to be messengers, officials and hold any leadership position in Convención.

“Part of our theme of transformation is for our Hispanic churches to transform our minds for more collaboration with BGCT initiatives through the Cooperative Program and the development of new programs through Convención. We need to develop a comprehensive plan for our Hispanic churches to cooperate together for maximum impact and for the benefit of more than 1,060 Hispanic Churches in our state. Convención exists to equip, activate and make a lasting impact together,” said Convención President Rolando Aguirre.

“The BGCT continues to be our biggest partner in ministry, since 1969. Together we can work to advance the Kingdom of God,” Aguirre continued.

Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic Ministries for Texas Baptists, added, “Texas Baptists are known for collaboration and we recognize the state of Texas is very large. As the Hispanic population continues to grow, our partnership with Convención will be focused on impacting the Hispanic population for Christ.”

Four churches were also recognized by Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program Ministries, for giving to Texas Baptists Cooperative Program including Iglesia Bautista Gethsemani of Fort Worth, Primera Mision Bautista of Sulphur Springs, Stone Gate Baptist Church in Alice and Northside Community Church of San Antonio. 

Sergio Ramos, church engagement officer for Buckner International, was awarded the Gary Cook Servant Leadership award. Additionally, Hispanic students scholarships were awarded by East Texas Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University and Truett Seminary. 

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