Council sets fall date for Bledsoe appeal

The UMC’s Judicial Council has set Nov. 9-11 as the dates for its consideration of Bishop Earl Bledsoe’s appeal of his involuntary retirement.

The council said in a statement that the meeting will likely be in Phoenix. The statement did not say whether there will be oral arguments.

Bishop Bledsoe

This will be a special meeting. The council had already set the docket for its scheduled October meeting, though one of the items on that docket is a request by the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops for a judgment on whether part of the Book of Discipline dealing with evaluation of bishops is in violation of the UMC Constitution.

Citing concerns about his administrative skills and trustworthiness, the South Central Jurisdiction episcopacy committee voted July 17 to retire Bishop Bledsoe.

Two days later, the full South Central Jurisdictional Conference voted overwhelmingly to affirm the committee’s decision.

Bishop Bledsoe has defended his character and record as leader of the North Texas Conference the past four years.

His appeal says the evaluation process used by the episcopacy committee was unprecedented, unfair and violates the UMC Constitution.

The episcopacy committee and College of Bishops agreed that Bishop Bledsoe would be on retired status as of Sept. 1. His appeal asks that the retirement decision be overturned and that he be given an episcopal area to oversee.

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