Bishop Bledsoe is timing the visits, which began Monday, as a prelude to the Christian observance of Holy Week. The trip will culminate this weekend on Palm Sunday (April 5) when the Bishop will fill the pulpit as guest preacher at First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs.
The Rev. Russell Floyd, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs, reported that all seven Methodist churches in Hopkins County are helping host the Bishop.
“During Holy Week we will be joining together to celebrate the series of events that changed the course of human history, and to tell the complete story of Christ’s passion for each one of us,” Floyd said.
Participating Methodist churches include First UMC; Wesley UMC; Shook’s Chapel UMC; Pine Forest UMC; Gafford’s Chapel UMC; Arbala UMC; and Como UMC.
On Thursday night, April 9, members of the various congregations will gather at First UMC sanctuary to remember the Last Supper and partake in a service of communion. The service begins at 6:30 pm.
At 6:30 p.m. on Good Friday, April 10, members will meet at Wesley UMC for a remembrance service of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross.
On Sunday, April 12, Easter morning, each of the seven congregations will hold services at their respective parishes to celebrate the risen Christ.
The Rev. Floyd noted that the Paris-Sulphur Springs District is on the eastern edge of the North Texas Conference UMC, which is headquartered in Dallas. The widespread area has a total of 325 churches.
Floyd added, “When Bishop Bledsoe was elected to the Episcopacy in July 2008, he stressed this message to all of the pastors: ‘We are called to serve others in the church and in the community.’ That message is now reverberating from pulpits throughout the conference.”
Bishop Bledsoe received a bachelor of arts degree from West Texas State University, then received a master of divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and a doctor of ministry degree from Drew University in New Jersey.
He previously served as district superintendent for the Bryan/West District and as pastor of Methodist churches in Houston, Cypress, and Bristol, England. He has also served as director of teaching ministries for the Texas Conference UMC.
He has served in many positions for UMC including chair of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry; chair of the Texas Methodist Foundation Board; Board of Trustees for Methodist Hospital System; Executive Board for Perkins School of Theology; and Board of Trustees for Lon Morris College.
Bishop Bledsoe is married to Leslie Jean (Bray), and they have six adult children. The youngest, Letitia Gail, is a freshman at The University of Texas at Arlington.
The pastors of all seven churches invite all members of the community to join in these Holy Week events.
— Information provided through First United Methodist Church
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