Bishop Ward talks about a bishop’s role in the life of The United Methodist Church and invites continued prayer for episcopal nominee Leonard Fairley as the 2016 SEJ Conference begins July 13 and culminates July 15 in the election of new bishops.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
It is a great joy to serve as your Bishop here in the North Carolina annual conference. I’m holding the crozier, the symbol of the office of bishop. It was twelve years ago in 2004 that I experienced the election to this office. A bishop is a shepherd for the annual conference and the annual conference is a basic unit of The United Methodist Church.
Bishops are charged by the discipline to do a number of things, but I like to think of this long list in three categories. The first, to guide the church, to gather the church, and to guard the church. The three things which shepherds do for their flocks.
The crozier is carefully held so that the crook is extended out into the world, because we who serve as bishops in The United Methodist Church seek to be shepherds who direct the church out into the world in mission.
This week nominees from across our jurisdiction will be considered for this office and five new bishops will be elected. At this very moment, today, the nominees are meeting with the delegations from the annual conferences.
We invite your continued prayers for Leonard Fairley who is the episcopal nominee from the North Carolina Annual Conference. We love Leonard and commend his work to all. We are delighted to pray for him so that the days ahead may unfold wonderfully for him, whether as a bishop or whether he returns to serve among us as the brilliant and wonderful leader that he is.
Thank you for your prayers as Jurisdictional Conference begins tomorrow and culminates Friday in a consecration of newly elected bishops.
May the Lord be with you this day.