As Bishop Ward completes her ministry with the NC Conference, she gives thanks and welcomes Bishop Leonard Fairley and his wife, Dawn, back to the conference.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Nine years ago, Mike and I were welcomed to the North Carolina Conference by Emily Innes, Beth Hood, Tim Russell, and Becky Biegger. What a team. We are thankful to Emily and Beth, not only for their leadership in North Carolina in that season, but for their leadership across the Jurisdiction in the General church. It was through their leadership that the process of the assignments of bishops was reconfigured in ways that continue to bless our shared life.
Tim, thank you for your partnership day by day as we worked together across eight years. Tim’s experience, Tim’s joy, Tim’s wisdom, Tim’s commitment to Christ, Tim’s love of laity and clergy across the Annual Conference. All of these things have blessed my life immeasurably. Tim, thank you for all that you continue to give to me and to this Annual Conference.
Becky, thank you for your work. Even now, Becky Biegger is working in the transition as we prepare to welcome Bishop Fairley and Dawn tomorrow.
It’s a joy to anticipate the leadership of Bishop Leonard Fairley among us. We know him well. We sent him forth into the episcopacy. As he comes to lead us in this season, he comes with that amazing testimony, the powerful life story that he shares so often. The strong calling of Christ that continues upon his life and the experience that he has in leadership of Kentucky and Red Bird Conferences. He often jokes that he began with a three-point charge and now returns to one. We will all pray and support your ministry Bishop Fairley as you come among us, and Dawn, welcome to North Carolina.
As we continue to see the challenges in the world around us, the exit from Afghanistan, the Haiti earthquake, and now Hurricane Ida continuing to spawn storms as it moves further north, we give thanks that we share in ministry together. In the days and years ahead, may God continue to strengthen The United Methodist Church for ministry, and may each of you be blessed as you grow in faith and serve Christ with joy.