Saturday, July 12, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History July 13

John Wesley Hardt Elected Bishop of the United Methodist Church July 14, 1980

The South Central Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church met in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1980. The main business of the conference was the election of bishops. On July 14 John Wesley Hardt, District Superintendent of the Houston East District, was elected. Bishop Hardt was assigned to the Oklahoma Area where he served for eight years and then assumed the postion of Bishop in Residence at Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University.

Hardt was born in San Antonio on July 14, 1921 to the Rev. and Mrs. W. W. Hardt. His boyhood was spent in a succession of parsonages in the Texas Conference. He graduated from Arp High School and enrolled in Lon Morris College and then Southern Methodist University. His first appointment was to the DeKalb Circuit which he served while still a student at SMU. Upon his father's death in April, 1943, Bishop A. Frank Smith appointed him to take his father's place in Malakoff, Texas. In September of that same year he married Martha Carson of Malakoff. Subsequent apointments took him to Pleasant Retreat (Tyler), Atlanta, Marshall, and Beaumont.

In addition to his local parish ministry Hardt served on a variety of boards, agencies, and commissions. He also preached at many revival meeetings and was involved in a variety of civic organizations in all his pastorates.

It is perhaps ironic that being elected on his birthday made his career as active bishop shorter than it otherwise would have been. According to the mandatory retirement rules in effect in 1980, if he had been one week younger, he would have been eligible to serve another quadrennium as presiding bishop of a conference.


Post a Comment

<< Home