W. Earl Bledsoe

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe


United States

South Central Jurisdiction


Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe is a retired bishop in The United Methodist Church having served from 2008-2021. He was elected to the episcopacy in July 2008 at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. 

W. Earl Bledsoe was born in Marlin, Texas. He graduated from Levelland High and from South Plains College (Levelland, Texas) with an A.A. degree; West Texas State University with a B.A. degree in English and Spanish; the M.Div. degree from Perkins School of Theology/SMU, where he was a Benjamin E. Mays Scholar. He earned the Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew University. He was ordained deacon in 1983 by Bishop Finis A. Crutchfield and elder in 1987 by Bishop Benjamin R. Oliphint in the Texas Conference.

Earl Bledsoe was the first elected to the episcopacy in July 2008 at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference and assigned to the Dallas Area. He is currently assigned as episcopal leader of the New Mexico/Northwest Texas Annual Conferences, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He serves as President of the GCORR Board of Directors and as such, is part of the Connectional Table.  He also serves as Jurisdictional Episcopal member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. He serves on the boards of McMurry University (Abilene, Texas), Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas); Texas Methodist Foundation (Austin, Texas) and the Methodist Children’s Home.

Previous leadership includes: Jurisdictional member of the Connectional Table, 2004-2008; Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee representative, 2004; General Conference delegate, 1992-2008; Chair of General Conference Committee on Reference (2000 and 2004); Vice Chair General Conference Legislative Committee on Ministry (1996) Chair of Texas Methodist Foundation Board; Chair of Texas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry; Chair of Texas Conference Finance & Administration. Prior appointments include: Episcopal Leader of North Texas Conference (Plano, Texas); Superintendent of the Bryan/West District (College Station, Texas); Senior pastor of Spring Woods UMC (Houston, Texas); Senior Pastor of Cypress UMC (Cypress, Texas); Texas Conference Director of Teaching Ministries (Houston, Texas); Senior Associate pastor of Bear Creek UMC (Houston, Texas); Senior Pastor Hanham Methodist Church – Kingwood Circuit (Hanham Bristol, England); Intern pastor – St, Marks UMC (Baytown, Texas); Assistant Pastor of St. Andrews UMC (Ft. Worth, Texas); Pastor of St. Paul UMC/St. James UMC – Anahuac Circuit (Anahuac, Texas); Local Pastor Wyatt Memorial UMC,(Amarillo, Texas).

Earl enjoys fishing, hunting, reading, technology, and traveling with family.

On April 6, 1985, Leslie Jean Bray and Wilbert Earl Bledsoe were married. Leslie is a licensed social worker and is totally blind. Together they have six adult children: Gregory Earl, Erika Yvette, Felicia Renee, Roderick Lynn, Erik Jada, and Letitia Gail. They also have 12 grandchildren: Broderick Rashad, Amanda Grace, Gregory Earl Jr., Nicholas, Jasmine, Randy Jr., Alexis, Hannah Gabriel (deceased), Sara, Lindsay, Christopher, and Abigail, and two great-grandchildren: Aiden Devon and Khia Renee.