Bishop Leonard Fairley
Leonard Fairley became bishop of the Kentucky Annual Conference on September 1, 2016. He was nominated by the North Carolina Conference and was elected that July on the seventh ballot during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.
On September 21, 2021, Bishop Fairley was appointed to provide episcopal coverage to the North Carolina Conference as well as continuing to serve the Kentucky and Red Bird Conferences.
Prior to his election, Bishop Fairley had served the North Carolina Annual Conference since 1984. His last appointment was serving as district superintendent of the Capital District, the largest district.
Bishop Fairley graduated from Pfeiffer College and Duke University's School of Divinity. He served at St. Peters in Hamlet and Soapstone in Raleigh before becoming the Rockingham district superintendent. He served in that role for seven years before returning to the local church in 2012 as lead pastor at Saint Francis in Cary.
Bishop Fairley served on numerous boards and agencies in the North Carolina conference, including:
Conference Vitalization Consultant
Chair of Congregational Development
Task Force on Lay Academy
Vice Chair of Conference Finance & Administration
Vice-Chair of Conference Board of Church and Society
North Carolina Conference Transition Team
Conference Board of Ordained Ministry
North Carolina Conference Episcopacy Committee
General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegate
He has participated on mission work teams in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Montserrat, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Honduras, Serbia and with the Appalachia Service Project.
Bishop Fairley has published a book of poetry, “Who Shall Hear My Voice.” He also was a contributing writer to “The Day the Earth Moved Haiti: From Havoc to Healing.”
He was married to his lifelong soul mate, Priscilla Ann Russell, until her death in 2013. In January 2018, God answered a prayer for new love; and in September of that year, Bishop Fairley married Dawn Sparks. Dawn had lost her soulmate, David, to cancer in 2015.
He has two adult children, Joshua Fairley and Elizabeth Galbreath as well as five grandchildren. Dawn has two adult children, Luke Sparks and Megan Bracken, as well as five grandchildren.
This is Bishop Fairley's first episcopal appointment.
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