LAKE JUNALUSKA, NC – Leonard Fairley, a native of Laurinburg and a district superintendent in the North Carolina Conference, has been elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church.
The election was announced Wednesday afternoon, July 13, during the meeting of the denomination’s Southeastern Jurisdiction at Lake Junaluska. Delegates from nine Southern states began meeting on July 13. The conference will conclude with the consecration of Fairley as Bishop on Friday morning, July 15.
Bishops are appointed leaders of conferences (geographic areas within one or more states). Appointments are for four years and can be extended for another four years. Fairley cannot be appointed to his home conference for at least four years.
As the Capital District superintendent, Fairley serves as the chief missional strategist and spiritual and administrative leader to 96 churches and 134 active pastors in a geographic area that includes Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Clayton, Smithfield, Benson, Goldsboro, Knightdale, Wendell, and Wilson. The North Carolina Conference includes churches in 56 eastern North Carolina counties.
Fairley graduated from Scotland High School (Laurinburg) and received a Bachelor of Arts from Pfeiffer University and a Masters of Divinity from Duke. Previously, he has served as pastor at the Sanford Circuit, St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Hamlet, Soapstone United Methodist Church in Raleigh, and Saint Francis United Methodist in Cary, and as the Rockingham District superintendent.
He was married to Priscilla Fairley, (died 2013) and is the father of two children and grandfather of three.
An announcement is expected to be made Thursday evening about the assignment of bishops.