"And are we yet alive?" A History of the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. By David J. Murrah. (Buffalo Gap, Tex.: State House Press, c. 2009. Pp. 344. $34.95, ISBN 978-1-933337-35-7.)
In "And are we yet alive?" A History of the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, David J. Murrah provides a detailed, chronological account of the Northwest Texas Conference from its beginnings in 1866 and its rebirth in 1910 to the 2008 joint conference with New Mexico. The theme of the book centers on perseverance. Murrah's text depicts the tireless work of itinerant Methodist ministers preaching and organizing small churches in the sparsely populated areas of West Texas. His descriptions of the hostilities and hardships they faced on the frontier are a story of determination and faith. As more railroad lines were laid in West Texas the population grew, as did the Methodist presence, which at one point topped one hundred thousand.
The migration from West Texas during the Dust Bowl years, however, led to a decline in conference membership starting in 1932. With this decline came difficulties. Early in its history, the conference had chronic problems administering its large territory, with the founding and demise of Methodist colleges, and with denominational infighting. In the second half of the twentieth century, social issues became a source of friction within the conference. …