With joy, the North Carolina Conference delegation to the 2008 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference is honored to commend to you Paul Leeland as our nominee for the episcopacy of The United Methodist Church.
During this season of discernment, delegates from the Southeastern Jurisdiction are seeking to follow God’s call in choosing episcopal leadership. May these pages provide information helpful in your prayerful consideration of the episcopal nominees as we all seek to live out God’s call in “joyful obedience.”
Leadership does not necessarily translate into spiritual leadership. Spiritual leaders are grounded in the presence of God. This adds an important dimension to the leadership of a bishop by providing spiritual formation development at every level and by modeling that development.
We must all build upon the balance of personal holiness and social holiness as we cultivate prayer, scripture, worship and the sacraments as means of God’s grace.
Paul Leeland’s great-grandmother often advised him, “You cannot teach what you do not know and you cannot lead where you will not go.”
This is true of our church leadership and it is true of our denominational leadership. Bishops model and participate in spiritual leadership when they remain grounded in the presence of God.
Partnership is a rich word for Paul Leeland. It is more than simply linking churches together in districts or conferences. More appropriately, it is a “web of relationships” working together in mutual respect and trust. Partnership is characterized by deacons and elders, laity and clergy, those ordained and those who are licensed, congregations and communities all fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
These temporal partnerships are simply a reflection of the divine partnership between Jesus Christ and the Church. For this reason, it is important for Paul that we create an atmosphere of trust and collegiality with those who make up the context of ministry, reminding us that we are the Body of Christ.
When we are in the presence of Christ, even in the midst of our diversity, we can be in a spirit of unity.
© 2008 NC Conference SEJ Delegation
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