North Texas United Methodists may never forget the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, held July 16-20 in Oklahoma City, because of its dramatic lows and exhilarating highs. Here is a chronology of the week.
Monday, July 16
NTC Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe has a hearing at St. Luke’s UMC with the South Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee to determine if he will be involuntarily retired.
North Texas clergy and laity travel to Oklahoma City, some by bus, to pray for Bishop Bledsoe.
Tuesday, July 17
The South Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee decides Bishop Bledsoe will be involuntarily retired. The committee votes 24 in favor, four against and two abstaining.
Wednesday, July 18
Annual Conference delegations meet and are briefed on the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee Report.
Thursday, July 19
Don House, chairman of the South Central Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee, addresses the conference regarding the report and asks for approval to retire Bishop Bledsoe.
Bishop Bledsoe addresses the conference in his defense.
Conference delegates vote to retire Bishop Bledsoe involuntarily.
The Rev. Gary Mueller, pastor of First UMC Plano, is elected bishop.
Friday, July 20
The Rev. Michael McKee, pastor of First UMC Hurst, is elected bishop.
Episcopal assignments are made: Bishop Mueller goes to Arkansas, and Bishop Michael McKee to North Texas. Bishop Bledsoe is not given an episcopal assignment.
The national edition of the United Methodist Reporter says Bishop Bledsoe has asked the UMC’s Judicial Council to overturn his involuntary retirement and give him an episcopal area to oversee. He has asked that his appeal be put on its October docket.