Bishops take steps to reinstate Bledsoe by January

Church leaders have been scrambling since last week in the wake of a decision by the denomination’ top court to reinstate Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, who was forcibly retired this summer.

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops, said on Monday, Nov. 19, that the hope is to reinstate Bledsoe by January 2013. She said the college of bishops would follow the procedures outlined in Paragraph 407 of the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book.

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops, said on Monday, Nov. 19, that the hope is to reinstate Bledsoe by January 2013.

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie. A UMNS 2008 file photo by Maile Bradfield.

That provision says that in case of a vacancy in the office of bishop, a jurisdiction’s college of bishops can nominate a bishop to fill the vacancy after consultation with the jurisdictional committee on episcopacy and annual conference committees on episcopacy.The full Council of Bishops would have to approve the nominee. Huie, in her statement, said her first step would be to meet with the cabinets and episcopacy committees of the Northwest Texas and New Mexico conferences, which constitute the Northwest Texas/New Mexico Episcopal Area. Retired Bishops Dan Solomon and William Hutchinson have been serving as interim bishops for the episcopal area since September.

The Rev. Jeff Lust, provost and Albuquerque District superintendent in the New Mexico Conference, said Huie has scheduled consultations with Northwest Texas representatives on Dec. 3 and New Mexico representatives on Dec. 4. He said the New Mexico representatives include members of the conference committee on episcopacy, the jurisdictional conference delegates plus alternates, and the extended cabinet.

The Rev. Jimmy Nunn, director of mission and administration for the Northwest Texas Conference, said he can’t speculate on what will be decided.

“I’m not sure speculating on an outcome is helpful, but we will follow the polity (of the denomination),” he said. “And when a bishop is eventually named, we are going to welcome that person into our area.”

Huie’s  full statement:

On Friday, November 16, 2012, the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops of the United Methodist Church met to confer regarding the implementation of Decision 1230 of the Judicial Council concerning Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe. In consultation with Dr. Don House, the Chairperson of the South Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy, the College determined that Paragraph 407 of the Book of Discipline was the most appropriate paragraph to put into action.

It was determined that the President of the College of Bishops, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, will visit and consult with the Cabinets and the Committees on Episcopacy of both the Northwest Texas and the New Mexico Conferences as quickly as possible. She will then consult with the full South Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy. This is the process outlined in Paragraph 407 of the Discipline regarding assignments between sessions of the jurisdictional conference. The College of Bishops will meet again to recommend the assignment of a bishop. That recommendation must be approved by the Council of Bishops.

Bishop Huie states, “It is the intent of the College of Bishops that these meetings and conferences will be completed so that the new assignment may begin in January, 2013.”


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  1. Billie Dalton

    The polity of the Discipline can do a healthy thing for all concerned in this situation. Too many people have had influence not necessarily healthy.

  2. Rev. Allen Pebley Ret elder Indiana Conf.

    I felt disapointed that we were never given more information on this situation. It seems to me and many others that there was only one or a few that made these accusations against this bishop. I for one am happy that he will be reinstalled to the position he was once elected to be.
    Not enough for many and to much from a few has caused this man the heartbreak he must have felt during this period of time. God Bless him.

  3. Elaine

    As an observer of Bledsoe and his warrier-like hands on Southerners, it has been felt and seen that having people of faith ignored has made a watered-down Methodism that includes a psychology-like preaching that is not Methodist at all, with a slightly Scientology twist that is not desirable integration, with many persons who are not Methodist or Methodist preacher trained to lead a Methodist congregation(s). Although Bledsoe is a black man, and may fit a nitch, there are plenty of other faithful who would like to move up, be respectfully in submission to and for the Conference and love their neighbors be they women Ministers or others who are not ethnically progressed. Regards for love of Christ and His intended Church… why must we be menchably tolerant of ‘everything goes”? when certainly it does not always make for sweet smells up to God !! In His Mighty plan we walk.

    1. John

      It is uninformed comments like this that are causing such major problems in our beloved UMC…there is no warmer person or more committed Christian than Earl Bledsoe….for one, I am thrilled that he was reinstated. Our church will be much better off for this action.

  4. Neil Arnold

    Why was Bledsoe removed to start with? Living in the Southeast we don’t know what this all about> Rev. Neil Arnolld

    1. Carl O. Stewart

      Thank you, Brother Arnold, many of us in the connection would like to know the answer to that question.

  5. avagraves

    Praise ye the Lord. Some things come only by fasting and praying. Bishop Bledsoe and in his family are wonderful people.

  6. Dorothy Martin

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow.Praise him for His people here below
    Praise for the Son and Holy Ghost——Amen

  7. Haywood J. Robinson

    Bless the Lord! Since this fiasco raised its nasty head, my spirit has been grieved. Bishop Bledsoe has been a friend, my former District Superintendent and a co-laborer with my wife and I in missions abroad. I’m friends with people who were pastored by him. He is a faithful man of God with an honorable record. What a wonderful Christmas present this is to have him reinstated. Praise God for justice.

  8. Elder Robert R. Jackson

    isn’t it funny and sad that the very ones who condemed him, now are charged with helping heal him. Isn’t it trajic and joyous that those who refuse him mercy and compassion are now charged with reenstating him. “What you do to the least of them, you do to me”! Episcopy Committe of the southcentral jurisdiction “What goes around, comes around”

  9. Dixie Smith

    As a former church member of Dr. Bledsoe, I strongly support his reinstatement. He is one of the most Godly leaders I have had the privilege of knowing.

  10. Peggy Broadstreet

    What happened for such a thing to transpire if Bishop is such a Godly man then why was he
    relieved of his duties and his title?

    1. Heather Hahn

      Please know Bishop Bledsoe never lost his title. He has remained a bishop even during his period of retirement.

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