Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops, said the process is on track to have reinstated Bishop Earl Bledsoe begin a new appointment in January.The only vacancy is in the episcopal area encompassing the Northwest Texas and New Mexico Conferences, and Bishop Huie has just wrapped up meetings with leaders of those.
“The meetings were both thoughtful and productive,” she said in a press release.
Bishop Huie said the next step would be a conference call with members of the South Central Jurisdiction’s episcopacy committee, something she expects to schedule “within the week.”
She also said she hopes to have a nomination regarding Bishop Bledsoe made to the College of Bishops by Dec. 15.
It remains “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,” Bishop Huie said.
Bishop Bledsoe, 62, was elected to the episcopacy in 2008, and assigned to the North Texas Conference. The jurisdictional episcopacy committee voted last July to retire him involuntarily, saying he had been an ineffective administrator.
The South Central Jurisdictonal Conference affirmed the committee’s decision, but Bishop Bledsoe disputed the evaluation – both result and process – and appealed to the UMC’s Judicial Council.
The council ruled for Bishop Bledsoe, ordering that he be reinstated and given an episocpal area to oversee.
Bishop Bledsoe has said he and his wife, Leslie, will go wherever the church sends them.