Methodist Healthcare Ministries and the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church announce new appointment of Director position
New appointee succeeds Rev. Mickey McCandless after more than a decade of service
March 15, 2022 (San Antonio, TX): Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas , Inc. and the Rio Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church announces the appointment of Rev. Dr. Aaron A. Gonzalez to the role of director of church connections and spiritual care at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. The appointment comes after the current director Rev. Mickey McCandless—who served in the position for over a decade—announced his plans to retire later this June.
“We celebrate Rev. McCandless for the faithful service he has provided to both the Rio Texas Conference and Methodist Healthcare Ministries. His leadership within both institutions has been instrumental,” said Bishop Robert Schnase. “Rev. McCandless has paved a solid foundation for Rev. Gonzalez to embark upon as he steps into this new role. We look forward to continuing the good works Mickey was so pivotal in shaping with the Rio Texas Conference with Aaron.”
Rev. Gonzalez currently serves as Pastor at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. He joined the organization in 2015 under Rev. McCandless’ leadership. In his current role, Rev. Gonzalez provides pastoral care and counseling for all team members and to patients and clients served at Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ primary care clinics. As Director, Rev. Gonzalez will serve as a member of the organization’s executive team and primary liaison to Rio Texas Conference. Prior to joining Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Rev. Gonzalez served as Pastor at Resurrection United Methodist Church and Shepherd’s Gate Community Church in San Antonio.
“We at MHM have been incredibly blessed to have had Rev. McCandless’ counsel and fellowship for the last ten years,” stated Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ CEO Jaime Wesolowski. “The work he has done to strengthen our organizational culture and the connections we have to the faith community across all denominations in South Texas has been invaluable, and we feel incredibly fortunate that Rev. Gonzalez will step into this role and continue building up our ministries in all the communities we serve.”
According to Wesolowski, the director of church connections & spiritual care position is distinct within the organization as it is appointed by the Bishop of the Rio Texas Conference.
“The collaboration with the Bishop is exceptional and underscores the importance of our connection to the church,” stated Wesolowski.
For 27 years Methodist Healthcare Ministries has created access to care for the underserved in South Texas through direct services, public policy analysis and research, strategic grantmaking and community partnerships. Its history goes back much further to 1955 when the former Southwest Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church established a charter creating the Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital—that hospital would eventually become Methodist Hospital. Later in 1995 the Methodist Hospital’s Board of Trustees formed a 50-50 partnership between HCA Healthcare which created the Methodist Healthcare System. The hospital’s board of trustees also transformed into the Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ board of directors which continues to operate under the first charter issued by the former Southwest Texas Conference [now known as the Rio Texas Conference], as amended.
Bishop Schnase underscored the importance of the relationship. “The ministries which have been made possible for the least served in communities across South Texas through the pastors and churches within the Rio Texas Conference that work alongside Methodist Healthcare Ministries is a tribute to the promise John Wesley asked us as faithful followers of Christ to make. Truly through our shared history and connection, we are doing all the good we can in all the ways we can. I know Rev. Gonzalez has a servant leader’s heart and through his leadership within the Conference—and certainly in his new role at Methodist Healthcare Ministries—will be marked by grace and love for Christ at the center of his work.”
About Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.: Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. is a private, faith-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating access to health care for the uninsured through direct services, community partnerships and strategic grant-making in 74 counties across South Texas. Guided by its mission of "Serving Humanity to Honor God," Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ vision is to be the leader for improving wellness of the least served. The mission also includes Methodist Healthcare Ministries' one-half ownership of the Methodist Healthcare System, the largest healthcare system in South Texas, which creates a unique avenue to ensure that it continues to be a benefit to the community by providing quality care to all and charitable care when needed. For more information, visit www.mhm.org.