Category: SEJ2016

Bishop Goodpaster Celebrated at SEJ 2016

ColesOn Thursday evening at SEJ 2016,  all of the bishops who retired at this session were recognized. Each bishop was given a tribute by a person from their annual conference.

Rev. Amy Coles, assistant to the bishop, gave the tribute for the Western North Carolina Conference.

“This evening, we give thanks for passionate and visionary leadership of Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who for the past 16 years has served as bishop in the Alabama-West Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences, and for his wife, Deborah, who has modeled before us grace, strength, and deep faith in Jesus Christ.

We are grateful for the ways, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, he has lived before us a patient, steady trust and hope in the future of Christ’s holy Church.

In both conferences, he’s been known for travelling the connection; encouraging us to risk, to be creative, and always reminding us that it’s all about the mission.

We also quickly realized that whether he was preaching at annual conference or in a local church, when his gestures became something like this (hand gesture), we better buckle our seatbelt, because what was coming might just turn our world upside down.

Bishop G has challenged us not to perpetuate the church of the segregated south – rather that we dare to reflect the Kingdom  and (referring to another gesture) when his hand began to rub his furrowed brow, it was a clear sign that he wasn’t pleased with our settling for the status quo – among other things.

He has particularly encouraged, supported, and mentored young clergy and laity, many of whom would say that their preaching and teaching were transformed as he led them on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

Widely read, Bishop G always has 2 or 3 or, if he’s honest, probably 10 more books for his cabinet and conference staff to read.  Interpreting what he’s read and learned through the lens of the Gospel, he helped both conferences set the trajectory of being real and relevant for future generations.

His world-wide service in places such as the DR Congo and Southeast Asia has been a tangible witness that there is power in the connection.

Goodpaster & DeborahAs he and Deborah move into the next season of their lives, we pray for more time for family and especially their five grandchildren, as well as for his ministry as the Bishop-in-Residence at Candler, where he will continue to form and transform the lives of future leaders of our church.

With humble strength, Bishop Goodpaster, you have answered this call of the Church and we pray that this evening you will receive God’s affirmation, “Well done.”

 

Bishop Paul Leeland assigned to Western North Carolina Conference (July 15 follow-up)

SEJ 2016 – Reception of Bishop Paul Leeland

On Thursday evening at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., Bishop Paul Leeland, currently serving in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has been assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy.

Jennifer Davis, the head of the Western North Carolina delegation, and a member the of the episcopacy committee, remarked about his assignment: “We are incredibly blessed to receive Paul Leeland as our Bishop in the Western North Carolina Conference.  He brings to our conference a wealth of wisdom and experience, tireless energy, a collaborative spirit, and a deep appreciation for the rich diversity of The United Methodist Church. He is a strategic team-builder and our conference will be deeply enriched as a result of his gifts and graces.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Leeland received four degrees from schools in North Carolina.  He received his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College, and a M.Div. and Th.M. from Duke Divinity School, and a Doctorate of Education from North Carolina State University.

Before being elected a bishop in 2008, he served churches in the North Carolina Conference (Raleigh area) for 33 years following a stint as Director of Family Counseling in Atlanta after completing seminary.  Just prior to his election to the episcopacy, Leeland was the superintendent for the Goldsboro District in the North Carolina Conference.

After his election in 2008, he was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, which encompasses the southern half of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. It includes more than 141,000 members, including about 900 active and retired pastors serving over 600 churches.

“We are so delighted to have Bishop and Mrs. Leeland coming to serve in Western North Carolina.  His organizational wisdom and strategic focus will allow him to continue the work that we have begun over the last several years.  His energy will be helpful in continuing our forward momentum and his calming presence will be a gift in the midst of these challenging times,” stated Rev. Kim Ingram, conference secretary and member of the jurisdictional episcopacy committee.

Leeland will replace Bishop Larry Goodpaster who has served the Charlotte area since 2008, after eight years as the bishop of the  Alabama-West Florida Conference. Following his retirement, he will become the Bishop-in-Residence at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA.

Rev. Amy Coles, assistant to Bishop Goodpaster,  reflected, “We are excited to welcome Bishop Paul Leeland and his wife, Janet, back to North Carolina.  Bishop Leeland has provided effective, faithful leadership in the Alabama – West Florida Conference for the past 8 years, and I am confident he will bring the same to WNCC.  I look forward to serving with him as he guides us in continuing to follow Jesus, make disciples, and transform lives, communities, and ultimately the world.”

Janet Elaine Dowell, also from Washington, D.C. and Paul Lee Leeland were married in 1968. They have three married children: Rebekah, Nora and Paul Andrew. They have six grandchildren. 

Bishop Leeland will begin his work in Western North Carolina on September 1. He and Janet will reside in Charlotte, N.C.

Bishop Paul Leeland assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference

LEELAND-PAUL-90Bishop Paul Leeland, currently serving in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has been assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy.

Bishop Leeland, 67, is originally from North Carolina and a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan, Duke Divinity School, and North Carolina State University. He was elected to the episcopacy in 2008, and was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Conference.

Leeland was ordained by Bishop Robert Blackburn in 1976. As a member of the North Carolina Conference, he served small, medium and large membership churches. He served as the District Superintendent of the Goldsboro District. He was then appointed Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Relations serving under two bishops for a total eight years. Paul Leeland was elected as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference beginning in 1988 and consecutive years through 2008. He was elected as a delegate to General Conference in 2000, 2004 and 2008. He has served general conference boards and agencies. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Red Shoe Award, presented by clergywomen of the North Carolina Annual Conference for “encouragement and support of women in ministry through advocacy, appointment, mentoring and friendship.”

In 1968, Janet Elaine Dowell and Paul Lee Leeland were married. They have three married children: Rebekah, Nora and Paul Andrew. They have six grandchildren.

Leeland will begin his work in Western North Carolina on September 1.

Below are links with more information are below:

Official UMC webpage

http://www.paulleeland.com/

Resume

A more formal article will be available by the weekend.

 

Southeastern bishops decry ‘nonconformity’ plans

bishop-king-584x388By Heather Hahn
July 13, 2016 | LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS)

Bishops in the U.S. Southeast denounced as “divisive and disruptive” the public refusal by some conferences to conform with church restrictions related to LGBTQ individuals.

“We recognize the pain felt both by those advocating for and those opposing change,” the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops said in a pastoral letter. “We also view the acts of nonconformity as a violation of our covenant and as divisive and disruptive.”

The letter is the most recent move in the debate on how the church ministers with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or queer.

The college, which includes active and retired bishops, released the letter the evening of June 12, the eve before United Methodist bishop elections begin in all five U.S. jurisdictions. Three of the U.S. bishop candidates are openly gay.

Nashville (Tennessee) Area Bishop William T. McAllily, president of the college of bishops, said he and his colleagues did not want to be reactive to the potential election of a gay bishop.

“We wanted to assure the Southeastern Jurisdiction that we understand the tension in the church, but we also wanted to give them the confidence in our leadership as we uphold the vows we made at our consecration (as bishops),” McAllily told United Methodist News Service. “We also wanted to speak a word to the church before jurisdictional conferences actually began.”

The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s governing document, states that all people are of sacred worth, but the church considers the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The church bans pastors from officiating at same-gender weddings and bans the ordination of “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy. That clergy ban applies to bishops.

Various United Methodist groups have been working to change those prohibitions for decades with no success. In recent years, the debate has intensified as some United Methodists publicly defy these restrictions and others call on the church to consider splitting up.

With rumors of schism in the air, General Conference — the denomination’s top lawmaking body — opted not to vote on any legislation related to how the church ministers with LGBTQ people.

Instead, the assembly authorized the Council of Bishops to set up a commission to examine and possibly recommend revisions to each policy related to sexuality.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction bishops pledged they would seek “unity in Christ, including the work the General Conference requested the Council of Bishops do in relation to the Commission on Human Sexuality.”

The bishops also committed themselves to the shepherding of all individuals and “administering processes for handling complaints about violations of our Book of Discipline that occur within our episcopal areas.”

McAllily said they wanted to focus the church on the mission that unites United Methodists: Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The bishops addressed a jurisdiction whose theme for this year’s conference is “Hope and Unity in Christ.” The delegates in the Southeastern Jurisdiction will be electing five bishops, a third of the bishops to be elected this week.

Current controversy

Outside the Southeastern jurisdiction, multiple conferences have decided they cannot wait for the bishops’ commission.

At their annual meetings this summer, the New England , Desert Southwest, California-Pacific, andPacific-Northwest conferences each passed “non-conformity” resolutions, saying they would not comply with provisions that discriminates against LGBTQ people.” The clergy session of Oregon-Idaho Conference supported a similar resolution.

The California-Nevada Conference approved an “aspirational resolution” asking that United Methodists not to follow the Book of Discipline’s restrictions related to LBTQIA individuals. LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual.

The New York conference commissioned or ordained four openly gay clergy.

The Rocky Mountain Conference passed a resolution that sexual orientation and gender identity should not be a bar to election to the episcopacy. Conferences in the Western Jurisdiction have each endorsed two gay candidates: the Revs. Karen Oliveto and Frank Wulf. Oliveto is married, and Wulf is in a “long-term covenanted relationship.”

The Rev. David Meredith is a candidate for bishop in the North Central Jurisdiction,

Most of the conferences that have voted to disregard the prohibitions related to gay clergy are in the Western Jurisdiction.

Perhaps tellingly, the theme for the Western Jurisdiction’s meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, is “Crossing Thresholds.”

Reactions to bishops’ letters

“We are in a very fragile space as a denomination right now, and there is great impatience on the extremes, those who want to change the Book of Discipline, for full inclusion, and for those who want to maintain the current standings,” McAllily said.

He and others at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference meeting said what happens next is unclear.

“Is it possible to hold what I call the tension of the opposites long enough for the bishops’ commission to do its work or will we continue to fragment?” McAllily said.

The bishops’ letter offered assurance to at least some delegates.

Turner Arant, a lay delegate from the Mississippi Conference, said he was gratified his jurisdiction’s bishops vowed to uphold the Discipline.

“If bishops don’t start enforcing the Discipline, it’s going to split the church wide open,” he said.

Joyce Moore, a delegate from the Holston Conference, likewise said the letter made her happy.

“They are following the Discipline, keeping calm and keeping the covenant with the church and with God,” she said.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction encompasses the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service. Contact her at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Five bishops elected at SEJ 2016

It was a historic day at the Southeastern Jursidictional Conference being held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The first African-American clergy woman was elected by the delegates of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in its history.  Rev. Sharma Lewis from the North Georgia Conference was the first African-American clergywoman elected as a bishop of The United Methodist Church since 2000.  She was also the first bishop elected in the 2016 quadrennium.

During the day, in a total of ten ballots, the delegates elected five new bishops between twelve-noon and 5:30 p.m. It was the consensus of leaders across the jurisdiction that this may have been the quickest that five bishops have ever been elected in the church.

This early completion of voting will change the schedule for Thursday, with a longer time of recess following the Service of Remembrance scheduled for the morning.

The assignments of all the bishops will be revealed on Thursday evening at the session that has been moved to 7:00 p.m.

Consecration of the new bishops is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska, and it will be live-streamed at: lakejunaluska.com/streaming.


Information on the Bishops-elect

Rev. Dr. Lawson Bryan

SEJ 2016- Election of Lawson Bryan

Rev. Lawson Bryan of the Alabama-West Florida Conference was elected on the 10th ballot.

Read the story from the Alabama-West Florida Conference

More biographical information

___

Rev. Leonard Fairley

SEJ 2016- Election of Leonard Fairley

Leonard Fairley from the North Carolina Conference was elected on the seventh ballot.

Read the story from the North Carolina Conference

More biographical information

___

Rev. David Graves

SEJ 2016- Election of David Graves

Rev. David Graves of the Holston Conference was elected on the fourth ballot.

Read the story from the Holston Conference

More biographical information

___

Rev. Sue-Haupert Johnson

SEJ 2016- Election of Sue Haupert-Johnson

 

Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson of the Florida Conference was elected on the tenth ballot.

Read the story from the Florida Conference

More biographical information

___

Rev. Sharma Lewis

SEJ 2016- Election of Sharma Lewis

Rev. Sharma Lewis from the North Georgia Conference was elected on the first ballot.

Read the election story from the North Georgia Conference

More biographical information

Results of Tenth Ballot- July 13, 2016

BryanYou can get full results for all of the ballots at this special umc.org page:
http://www.umc.org/ballot

More information about all elections is found at:http://umc.org/elections


Notes from Lake Junaluska:

Ballots Cast- 375
# Valid Ballots- 369
# Needed to Elect- 221

Haupert-JohnsonThere were two elections on this ballot, and that completes the total of five bishops to be elected at this Jurisdictional Conference.

Rev. Lawson Bryan of the Alabama-West Florida Conference was elected

Read the story from the Alabama-West Florida Conference

Photos on Flickr Feed

___

Rev. Sue Haupert-Johnson of the Florida Conference was elected

Read the story from the Florida Conference

Photos from Flickr Feed

 

Results of the Ninth Ballot- July 13, 2016 – Afternoon

You can get full results for all of the ballots at this special umc.org page:
http://www.umc.org/ballot

More information about all elections is found at:http://umc.org/elections


Notes from Lake Junaluska:

Ballots Cast- 375
# Valid Ballots- 374
# Needed to Elect- 224

No elections on this ballot

The next five persons with the most votes on the list:

Sue Haupert-Johnson- 223
Lawson Bryan – 220
Tim McClendon- 155
James Howell- 53
Connie Shelton- 36

Results of the Seventh Ballot- Wednesday, July 13, 2016- Afternoon

IMGP5751The fifth ballot was declared invalid.  Bishop Carter then moved the delegates to the sixth ballot.

You can get full results for all of the ballots at this special umc.org page:
http://www.umc.org/ballot

More information about all elections is found at:http://umc.org/elections


Notes from Lake Junaluska:

Ballots Cast- 375
# Valid Ballots- 369
# Needed to Elect- 221

Leonard Fairley from the North Carolina Conference was elected on the seventh ballot with 248 votes

Read the story from the North Carolina Conference

Photos from the Flickr Feed

The next five persons with the most votes on the list:

Sue Haupert-Johnson- 209
Lawson Bryan – 188
Tim McClendon- 168
Connie Shelton- 87
James Howell- 75