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Jul 17

Committee votes to retire Bledsoe as bishop

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) — By a vote of 24 to 4 with two abstentions, the South Central Jurisdiction’s episcopacy committee decided by more than the necessary two-thirds margin to compel Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe into early retirement.

Don House (left), chair of the South Central Jurisdiction’s episcopacy committee, talks with Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe during a break in the hearing before the committee voted to place Bledsoe in involuntary retirement. UMNS photos by Heather Hahn.

“It was very, very hard — a lot of tears, a lot of prayer,” said Don House, the committee chair and a lay church member of the Texas Annual (regional) Conference. “We considered extensive material (with) considerable participation by every member of the committee. … I would say our concern for the church as a whole was paramount.”

House went on to say that Bledsoe, who now leads the North Texas Conference, is “a dedicated Christian man in the church.

“Our only concern about Bishop Bledsoe was his administrative skills,” he said. “But as a spiritual leader, as a dedicated Christian, never any question.”

Two days of hearings

The committee made its decision after a hearing with Bledsoe that stretched over two days followed by about nine hours of deliberations. The 30-member committee includes a lay and clergy member from each of the jurisdiction’s conferences.

“I am disappointed in the committee’s vote, but I don’t want to focus on that,” Bledsoe said. “I just want to say a big thank you to God and to my Savior Jesus Christ for the North Texas Conference and the wonderful people who faithfully serve Christ in the local setting.”

Bledsoe said he and his wife, Leslie, plan to pray before deciding whether to appeal the committee’s decision to the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court.

If he appeals, Bledsoe will remain an active bishop at least until the Judicial Council renders its ruling. However, he will not necessarily remain in the North Texas Conference, House said. The committee will not make its recommendations for bishop assignments until after the South Central Jurisdiction elects its new bishops. At this point, the jurisdiction is set to elect three new episcopal leaders.

The deadline has passed for Bledsoe’s case to be added to the Judicial Council’s docket for its next session in October. However, the church court has agreed to take up a request from the South Central Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops for a declaratory decision on the provision in church law that the episcopacy committee used to vote to retire Bledsoe.

Struggle believed to be a ‘first’

Many longtime church observers have said Bledsoe’s public struggle with his jurisdictional episcopacy committee is a first in The United Methodist Church’s 44-year history.

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe (left) and his advocate, the Rev. Zan Holmes Jr., a retired pastor, before the start of Bledsoe’s hearing with the South Central Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee.

The committee’s decision also comes on the heels of efforts to increase accountability for church leaders at all levels of the denomination. These moves include the vote at the recently concluded 2012 General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, to end guaranteed full-time appointments for ordained elders in good standing.

The committee believes its vote “is a strong statement about accountability,” House said. “Just as we hold clergy accountable, we hold bishops accountable (and) we should hold laity accountable.”

Bledsoe, in his fourth year as bishop, has faced strong criticism about his administrative skills, House said. Those criticisms were reflected in the committee’s evaluations and interviews with leaders in the North Texas Conference.

However, the bishop also has his supporters. About 100 United Methodist clergy and lay people traveled from the North Texas and Arkansas conferences to Oklahoma City to show support for Bledsoe on the first day of his hearing, July 16.

They included Ed Patterson, a member of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas.

“He’s a creative leader, I think,” Patterson said of Bledsoe. “He has done some things that people see as radical but are really rational, and we’ve seen some good results. More often than not, you’ll see acceptance of the status quo. But he has the courage to do things differently.”

Bledsoe was the first bishop elected by the 2008 South Central Jurisdictional Conference, and the North Texas delegation specifically sought him to be the conference’s bishop.

Among the changes he has made in North Texas, Bledsoe noted a program for young adult clergy, the Nehemiah Project to re-envision the role of the annual conference and a strategic plan that includes a center for new church plants.

“I would say the South Central Jurisdiction’s vote will not stop the momentum that has been started,” Bledsoe said.

The hearing

The closed-door hearing began at 2 p.m. CDT July 16 and continued on July 17, with Bledsoe departing at around 10:15 a.m. CDT on July 17. The committee then deliberated on the case for most of the next nine hours. Early in the proceedings, the panel denied Bledsoe’s request that the hearing be open to the public.

Jonathan C. Wilson, a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas and a lawyer with the Dallas firm of Haynes & Boone, represented Bledsoe pro bono.

He was not allowed inside the proceedings, but brought video testimony from clergy and two laity on Bledsoe’s behalf. The committee ultimately decided to use the transcripts and audio from that testimony in its deliberations.

Bledsoe also was permitted representation inside the hearing by an advocate who is an ordained elder. The Rev. Zan W. Holmes Jr., pastor emeritus of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church and a nationally known church leader, took on that role.

Holmes had to leave about an hour before Bledsoe on July 17 to catch a flight. At that point, he said he thought the committee’s discussion about Bledsoe’s future was “heading in the right direction.”

On the morning of July 18, he said by phone that he “was saddened and disappointed about the vote outcome.

“Now we have to regroup in light of this and decided where we go from here,” he said. “We are encouraged by the fact that four voted against Bishop Bledsoe’s removal and two abstained. We know from experience that the majority is not always right.”

Erin Hawkins, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, monitored the hearing of Bledsoe, an African-American bishop, at the invitation of the episcopacy committee.

“This has been a difficult situation for all involved,” Hawkins said in a statement. “(The commission’s) presence in this matter was at the request of the (committee) for the sole purpose of helping provide feedback to the committee about what if any role culture and race played during the hearing itself. It is our prayer that this painful matter may be the beginning of a much deeper and broader dialogue throughout the whole church about what it means to be a community of faith in which many colors, cultures, languages and identities are present and active.”

Bledsoe said he holds no malice or anger toward anyone on the committee.

“I think the committee was doing its job, and they were very diligent in terms of the work they were doing,” Bledsoe said. “They are good people.”

Still, he said it was difficult to answer whether it was a fair process. “As far as I know, no bishop has been subjected to this type of decision before,” he said.

Reversal on retirement

Bledsoe initially announced plans to retire in a video on June 1. But days later on June 5, the bishop stunned many at the North Texas annual gathering when he declared that he was being forced out and he would not stand for it.

He said he made his decision after prayer and seeing the conference’s positive statistical data, which included 20 new church starts during his tenure, increased giving to general church apportionments and a second consecutive year of increased worship attendance. According to conference reports, North Texas since 2009 is averaging an additional 769 people in worship in its local churches.

In terms of metrics, Bledsoe said, he put his record at North Texas up against any conference in the jurisdiction.

On June 8, House released a statement explaining why the panel asked Bledsoe to retire early.

“The results of our evaluation of Bishop Bledsoe were mixed,” said the statement. “While having some skills as a spiritual leader, his administrative skills, relational skills, and style remain in question based upon our own evaluation tools and through conversations with North Texas Annual Conference leaders. We discussed these results, reports, issues and specific examples with Bishop Bledsoe.”

Additionally, the statement said, committee members did not think Bledsoe “would be an effective episcopal leader” in another annual conference.

House said the committee sent out questionnaires about Bledsoe in September 2011 to 50 leaders in the North Texas Conference. The committee received 27 responses from those evaluations. Bledsoe said he learned of the committee’s concerns on March 27, which he said gave him only “a narrow window” to address those concerns.

‘Highs and lows’

In his video announcing his initial decision to retire, he said his four years leading the North Texas Conference have seen their “highs and lows.”

In late 2011, the Judicial Council found that a restructuring plan for the North Texas Conference that Bledsoe implemented did not comply fully with church law.

Bledsoe and his family experienced the death of his 9-year-old granddaughter, Hannah Moran, in an accident in January.

Early this year, Bledsoe faced difficulty when Tyrone Gordon surrendered his clergy credentials and resigned as pastor of prominent St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church. Gordon faced accusations of sexual harassment. Two lawsuits against the church and the North Texas Conference followed. One of the suit’s plaintiffs was among those who traveled to Oklahoma City to show support for Bledsoe.

Bledsoe also was criticized for how consultations for clergy appointments were handled, he acknowledged in a May 17 video.

House said no single event led to the committee’s concerns about Bledsoe’s administrative skills.

As someone in his first appointment as bishop, Bledsoe said he has made mistakes. “But you learn from those,” he said.

The complete statement from the South Central Jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy is below:

The South Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy held its hearing to consider involuntary retirement of Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe on July 16, 2012 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City. The hearing was closed to the public, following the required vote of the committee. Bishop Bledsoe was accompanied by Rev. Zan Holmes. By invitation of the committee, representatives from the General Commission on Religion and Race were also in attendance. All thirty members of the South Central Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee were present, representing every annual conference in the jurisdiction.

The hearing began at 2PM on July 16, recessed in the late evening, and concluded at 10:15AM on July 17. At the conclusion of the hearing, the committee began a period of discernment, study, and discussion. Materials presented by Bishop Bledsoe before and during the hearing were reviewed by the committee.

After extensive discussion and prayer, a motion was made to place Bishop Bledsoe in the retired relation as an episcopal leader in the South Central Jurisdiction, as of August 31, 2012. A secret ballot was taken at 7:30PM July 17, with all 30 members present. According to ¶ 408.3 in the 2008 Book of Discipline, a 2/3 majority is required to support the motion. This majority was attained with a vote of 24 in support of the motion, a vote of 4 against the motion, and two abstentions.

Donald House, Chair of the Committee, accompanied by Rev. Charlotte Abram, Vice Chair of the Committee, visited with Bishop Bledsoe, in person, to disclose the results of the vote. Bishop James E. Dorff, President of the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops was then informed of the vote.

 

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  1. Danny Burttram

    Pretty powerful committee. Makes one wonder how the committee members are selected/elected/appointed. Also, since it is labeled a committee appearance rather than a trial, what judicial procedures were followed, eg. peremptory challenges (or equivalent) allowed? Additionally, what documents/witnesses were allowed to be presented? It is assumed that the procedures followed by this ‘powerful’ committee are in consonance with The Methodist Discipline and that appropriate methods of interviewing and testimony were used prior to the committee ‘hearing, and that the 27 letters received concerning the Bishop are documented and form a part of the record of events leading up to the committee action.

    All this assumes that, if appeal is made to the Judicial Council, the Council will decide that there were no violations of the individual’s rights in the committee action or the investigative matters leading up to the committee appearance.

    1. Mark West

      Read the Book of Discipline.

  2. David

    I’m a little concerned that too many in our denomination prize human administrative skills more highly than spiritual leadership. Could our denomination be in trouble because we want to operate churches too much like businesses and not enough like the church of Jesus.

    1. robert

      Sir, after 20 plus years as an elder in a southeastern jurisdiction conference I have concluded your suggestion is tragically more so the truth than just an accusation without merit. While I have no details of what happened to the Bishop referred to here the concern continues to rise that many of our conferences are only interested in promoting persons to be leaders who threaten the fewest pastors in their status quo rather than showing clear and proven signs that they can help their respective conferenece grow out of whatever problems they face. While I cannot declare this is the case in Texas I also cannot be certain this has not happened there. . That is so sad we find ourselves in such distress.

  3. Janice Sikes Rogers

    Regionalism is real. Would this occur “up north”?

    I pray that Bishop Bleadsoe will fight on, all the way to Riverside Dr. NYC!

    As a native of Mississippi I see more in this struggle.

    I will follow this fight very closely.

    1. Northern elder

      No, this probably would not have happened “up north.” I have no opinion of the Southcentral decision, but I would say that normally Bishops are not really held accountable for effectiveness. I live up north and Bishops are basically untouchable. This arguably gives them the independence they need to be prophetic.

    2. Mark West

      “All the way to Riverside Drive”?

      Huh?

  4. cjb

    I understand that we are not privvy to all the details, and so I cannot criticize from that perspective. BUT… if there are no moral or spiritual questions, and if there were clear measures of growth in the conference, how can this be right? Many bishops in recent years brought unusual administrative styles and made questionable administrative choices; several have made appointments that were problematic and have had clergy get into trouble. And without the positives of evidenced growth. But they were not forced into early retirement. How is it that this time is different? This is deeply troubling without more information.

  5. Maurice Washington

    I will be praying for the Bishop and his family.I will be praying for this Denomination. Somebody could did not get their way under the Bishop, therefore, they have to get rid of him by hook or crook.If Jesus was tried and found guilty on falsehoods and distortions by religious authorities hiding behind ecclesiatical loftiness then I suppose we should not be surprized when the same is done to us.I see more clearly each year why we have lost nearly four million members since the merger. God is not pleased with our religious shannigans, especially when done in his name.

  6. Jeremiah Williams

    I am a Methodist in the John Wesley’s tradition and I wonder if he would approve the actions of the church as a representative of Jesus Christ. I find it rather disturbing to say the least that the committee found fault with the Bishop’s Administrative Skills while offering praise for his Spiritual and Christian leadership. Something is missing here as isn’t this suppose to be the church of Jesus Christ founded upon the principles of Christian teaching and a commitment to spiritual Holiness? SOMETHING IS MISSING HERE AND IT DOES NOT SPEAK WELL FOR THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH!

  7. Truth and Justice

    Perhaps the following report is inductive of the unprecedented decision of the SCJC decision regarding the dismissal of Bishop Bledsoe. Possibly this information illuminates why we are experiencing a decline in church growth as members feel disfranchised by what appears to be chaotic leadership.

    Gallup Reports New Low in Religious Confidence
    Tuesday, July 17, 2012
    By Bruce Nolan
    Americans’ confidence in organized religion, slowly but steadily declining since the 1970s, slipped to a new low in the latest survey, the Gallup Organization reported.
    Today only 44 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in “the church or organized religion,” Gallup said. It was 68 percent in the mid-1970s.
    Pollsters did not name any church or religion in particular, letting respondents define that as they wished, the organization said.
    Most Protestants, 56 percent, expressed confidence in the church, but only a minority, or 46 percent, of Catholics did.
    But Lydia Saad, Gallup senior editor, pointed out that the question deals with churches and organized religion. Americans are still generally a very religious people, although increasingly on their own terms.
    In 2007 a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found only about one in six respondents said religion was “not too” or “not at all” important in their lives.
    Only five percent said they did not believe in God or a universal spirit.
    Saad said in 1975, “the church or organized religion” was the highest-rated of the 16 institutions Gallup asked about.
    It still ranks fourth. The top three institutions Americans have most confidence in are, in order, the military, small business and the police.
    The least-trusted institution is Congress, in which only 13 percent of Americans voice “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence.
    Health maintenance organizations and banks follow right behind Congress.
    The survey included 1,004 adults and was taken June 7-10, Gallup said.

  8. Lynne

    Racism is alive and well in the United Methodist Church

    may God be with us!

    ps: also sexism

    1. Stephen - not the Saint

      Lynne,

      Unless you have some proof that this was an instance of racism, please refrain from volatile exposition such as this.

      I am not privy to all of the facts in this case. In fact, as a member of the North East Jurisdiction this article is the first I’ve heard of any of the names (including the ‘nationally known church leader’). Having been in the world a while I can understand how a person, even a Bishop, can be a wonderful Spiritual Leader, but horrible at other things. Or in the reverse, you could have someone who is a wonderful administrator who is a horrible Spiritual Leader. Without knowledge as to the particulars I can only hope the decision was a good and just one.

      I’ve been reading up on his stated intents and even Bishp Bledsoe himself says in his Blog.
      “Second, please hear me clearly: This issue is not about race! Not only have you embraced change to accomplish our mission, you have embraced the leadership of three consecutive African-American episcopal leaders with three different styles. ” link – http://www.northtexasumc.org/_blog/The_Bishops_Blog/post/From_a_foundation_of_love_comes_a_search_for_fairness/

      I have hopes that this was not the power of a vocal minority of people within the church being upset at changes that might have helped the church body as a whole.
      I don’t know. I really don’t.

  9. An Elder in the UMC

    As an Elder in the Church, we are called to be accountable to each other no matter what position we hold within the denomination. It is always a sad time to see one of our sisters or brothers judged and yet this judgement as all judgements starts from the top down with our Bishops declaring that we all be accountable to one another. Our Bishops started the process and must now be held accountable as they too are Elders in the UMC. If we are to do the work of the church and set metrics for judging our abilities, then no one should be exempt from the system or evaluations.
    Maybe it would be beneficial for all evaulations of Bishops to be made public so that the Elders and the Lay Leaders of the Church can make informed decisions about any Bishop being in a position of leadership every four (4) years, just as now Elders are subject to being removed June 30th of each year based on the recommendation of the Bishop and Cabinet?
    The real question is, we need Great leaders from the office of the Bishop through each level of serving the entire church…we need to have both accountability and Grace held in tension with one another. May we all pray for the United Methodist Church and especially Bishop Bledsoe and his family.

  10. cjb

    But…why this one bishop under whose leadership the NTC DID show growth…metrically? Why not other bushops whose leadership is NOT producing metrically measured growth, and whose administrative style is just as questionable? Why this bishop? The very real question is whether or not this bishop is being the scapegoat…and if si, why? Again, without more information it is very hard to find answers.

  11. Lynne

    I’m sorry — but this still reeks of racism —

    And elders June 30th —- let’s see then how many whites vs people of color are removed (also how many women vs men)

    The processes to help anyone in ministry are archaic at best!

    1. BRob

      I agree with the previous comment. Unless there is proof about racism please don’t make that heavy accusation. I don’t know that much about the case, but from reading the article it appears this was based on his performance and not his race. Why haven’t others been held accountable like this? Maybe his performance was so disruptive that something had to be done. Personally, I think all Bishops should be held accountable like this just like every clergy should.
      Just to cry racism because he just happens to be an African-American is both irresponsible and it lessons the reality of true incidences of racism.

  12. Mark West

    Amazing how people want to second guess the committee that represented the people of the jurisdiction. We have a system for dealing with problems like this. It worked. Let’s move on. The good bishop, who has earned a lot of money in the last four years, should go fishing.

  13. cjb

    I ask questions rather than second guess. The best committees with the best intention make mistakes. If a bishop can be challenged on effectiveness so can a committee or even the entire process. As to how much money the bishop has or doesn’t have, that’s totally beside the point.

    1. Mark West

      Eighty percent of the committee members voted to sack him. Yet you raise questions about scapegoats. If you know something the committee didn’t know, please tell us all. Be accountable for your own comments. Otherwise, move along. Nothing to see here.

  14. Lynne

    Mark – that was rude
    One of our problems is we don’t respect the office — of a bishop or elder
    No matter what — we need to remember until he stepped down he was an ordained elder and a bishop and the positions alone deserve respect.
    If we can make comments like that to a bishop — what can the general people say about ordained elders?

  15. Sandra McMillen

    What I do not understand is how the episcopacy committee can dismiss someone they did not elect. How is it they have the authority to vote a bishop into retirement? Should not that authority rest with those who elected him (i.e. the Jurisdiction)? I assume the committee is the one with designated oversight, but somehow it just seems wrong.

  16. Ann Dyson

    This was not a race related decision, Bishop Bledsoe nor Dr Zan Holmes thought it was. Please do not try and make it appear that the South has more racisiam than the North, because I know too many folks from North who are much more racisiest than southern people. Please let this racisiam issue be something of th past, after all Bishop Bledsoe didn’t change race in the last 4 years he was African American when he was elected in the SCJ.

  17. Pastor John

    It seem to me that to ascribe the actions of the SCJ Committee on Episcopacy as racist, incompetent, or overreach, is not fair, without having the knowledge which they have.

    I have been a DS…I know the grief, pain, and even anguish which our particular bishop and cabinet went through in order to be not only fair and thorough, but to be the agents of the grace of Jesus Christ in the sometimes difficult decisions which we helped our bishop make.

    The decision of the Committee on Episcopacy was long searched…but, in the end, decisive. It is appropriate for us trust that THEY, too, sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they made a horribly painful decision.

    It is most important that Bishop Bledsoe and his family are held in our prayers as well.

  18. Robert R Jackson

    Now I finally get it. You can love the Lord, live by his commandments, be spiritually converted and born again.
    You can preach his word, take authority and lead churches as Senior Pastor for 20 years, even be a district superintendent, elected a Bishop on the first Ballot. You can dedicate your life to serving Jesus but if you can’t administrate, the United Methodist Church says “Retire”!
    According to the charges brought against Bishop Bledsoe, there was no question about his spiritually or fitness for the Kingdom of God, but his style of management. After all did not Jesus tell us that the greatest commandment is to administrate correctly.

    Earl and Leslie
    Hang on in there my friends. Earl remember what Rev Sam told us “they crucified Jesus”!You have just been picked out to be picked on! congratulation you can now join that” great cloud of witnesses”

    1. BRob

      One of the primary task of the Bishop is to serve as the administer of the conference. I served in the military with men and women who were great people but terrible leaders. They inspired but never could lead effectively. In my opinion, all bishops should be required to come back up for vote every so often to evaluate their effectiveness. Sometimes a person gets placed in a position that their gifts just didn’t fit. Doesn’t mean people are picking on them, it’s just an honest evaluation on their talents and where they can best serve.

    2. Rev. Karen Welling

      I wholeheartedly agree with the Rev. Robert R. Jackson. The only issue with the committee seemed to be his management style. There are many gifts as ordained clergy, but I never heard we have to have all the gifts to be effective. I would rather a person be spiritual and fit for the kingdom of God than to have the best management style.

      1. Dan Ashton

        Rev. Karen, as elders, we are ordained into a ministry of Service, Word, Table and Order. Each one of us is held to account regarding our effectiveness in all of these aspects. A strong preacher, a highly skilled community leader, or a deeply spiritual person can still nonetheless be ineffective in offering a ministry of Order. We elders are all accountable to the wider church in our effectiveness.

  19. Lynne

    Excellent response!

  20. normak

    Do we know if it perhaps had to do with his handling of the sexual discrimination suit against the Dallas pastor?

  21. csl

    If Bishop Bledsoe appeals to the Judicial Council and wins the appeal, does anyone know what will happen to the individual who is elected by the SCJ? I imagine the situation is unprecedented.

    In all things, may we pray for God to work through and redeem our most difficult situations as we strive to be the Church.

  22. Pamela

    I am in prayer for our denomination and Bishop Bledsoe. We are declining because we continue to practice the same old cookie cutter approach to ministry and expect a different result. Some administrators have a different approach of accomplishing what is required and we must be open minded,as long as the approach is ethically motive, spiritual, honest and meets the need of the people there should be no problem. The evaluative process needs to be reviewed to make sure all are accountable including the committee.

    1. Lynne

      Pamela — very good thoughts

    2. Rev. Karen Welling

      Very good thoughts Pamela.

  23. Gary

    It appears to me that most of the folk making posts are in the same spot I am: we know only limited amounts of info. The comments don’t reflect a lot info about the case, but they do reveal the thinking, and dare I say reactivity, of many respondents. That isn’t bad, it is part of being human. But if we let our feelings be treated as clear thinking without knowing the facts, we are in for a lot of difficulty. All of these concerns (racism, the weighting of criteria for evaluation, etc.) are valid in particular situations, but we don’t have the info to reach such sweeping conclusions.

    Is sufficient consideration given to how the church system as whole is a key part of the process? Consider what it takes to get nominated, then elected bishop. Are the necessary “skills” for this to happen the ones that are needed to be a good bishop? Sometimes it seems that God works in spite of our process rather than through it.

    I seriously doubt that the reactivity reflected here helps the bishop or others do their best and most faithful thinking from this juncture. And I hope the larger church in prayer and spirit might help that. God can probably get us through this.

    1. Susan

      I agree with Gary. We can ‘what if’ and ‘second guess’ all day long but until all the facts are on the table for everyone to see there is no way of knowing how or why the committee came to this decision. All we are doing here is fueling our opinions with no basis of fact or knowledge. At this point in time is it not best for us just to hold Bishop Bledsoe and his family in prayer as well as the committee that had to make this dificult decision? We also need to trust that God, to whom we are all accountable, has the wisdom and power to be the final judge in this matter.

  24. Joel an active lay person

    We live in a very litigious society. The reference to the bishop’s handling of a sexual misconduct charge at St. Luke’s suggests to me there is some fear of litigation, either with this case or future cases. It is an unfortunate reality that we are sometimes forced to do what is legally required instead of simply and quickly doing what is right. Often if people don’t like the outcome they try to find some flaw in the process. Because the processes are human someone will find what at least to them looks like a flaw and run with it. It appears to me that Bishop Bledsoe and many many others are all good people trying to follow the intricacies of the law as well as do what is right.

    Speaking from my own experience, I make these comments to the good bishop, “Retirement (with a pension) is also a blessing. Enjoy it as a new and wonderful chapter in your life. God will bless you in whatever God has in store for you.”

  25. Leaked Movies

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  26. dan

    As the UMC continues to numerically decline we will continue to see blame cast upon every form of authority including the GC, the JCs, the ACs, the Bishops, DS’s and clergy (at times rightfully so). No one will be exempt and the denomination will continue to founder in our humanistic response and vindictive approaches (of this I am also guilty). Our only hope is to return to a dependance upon the fullness of the Holy Trinity which will help us to find reconciliation even in our discord. If not God will continue to prune the tree, God will not be mocked. May God help us all and show us gracious mercy!

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    [...] hearing on July 16-17, the  episcopacy committee decided by a vote of 24-4, with two abstentions, to place Bledsoe in involuntary retirement. The 30-member committee included a lay and clergy member from each of the jurisdiction’s 15 [...]

  9. Bledsoe nominated to lead Northwest Texas-N.M. area - United Methodist Connections

    [...] a hearing on July 16-17, the episcopacy committee decided by a vote of 24-4, with two abstentions, to place Bledsoe in involuntary retirement. The 30-member committee included a lay and clergy member from each of the jurisdiction’s 15 [...]

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