The United Methodist Council of Bishops on Wednesday voted to assign reinstated Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe to the Northwest Texas/New Mexico Episcopal Area starting in January, a move which comes after the top church court overruled a decision to force him into retirement.
The e-mail vote follows a recommendation by the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops to assign Bishop Bledsoe the area where he will start.
Earlier this year, the South Central Jurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy and the 2012 South Central Jurisdictional Conference had voted to place Bishop Bledsoe in involuntary retirement, saying there were questions about his administrative abilities, not his spiritual leadership.
"The Council of Bishops supports Bishop Bledsoe through our prayers and through the collegial brother- and sisterhood, as he prepares to move to his new Episcopal area," said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, President of the Council. "May God bless the ministry of all United Methodists in the Northwest Texas / New Mexico area as they make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
In a June 8 report, the SCJ Committee on the Episcopacy issued a report stating that committee members did not think Bishop Bledsoe "would be an effective Episcopal leader" in another conference.
However in November, after an appeal by Bishop Bledsoe, the Judicial Council of the denomination said the committee introduced flaws that were "fatal" to the process that led to his forced retirement. However the Council said its decision addressed only the process, not the merits of the findings or conclusions of the committee.