Fairleys: Called to Lead During Season of Transition

May 15, 2021
By Bishop Leonard Fairley
By now you probably have either read or heard the news from the Council of Bishops, the Southeastern Jurisdiction College and the SEJ Committee of Episcopacy concerning annual conference leadership coverage until we elect new bishops. I have been called to serve as resident bishop of Kentucky, Red Bird and North Carolina, effective Sept. 1. Dawn and I enter this journey in the strength of Joshua’s words: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
It is our calling together (she as the bishop’s wife) that has always given us great hope, joy and peace. The gift and calling to ordained ministry in any season is beautiful, awesome, and often mysterious: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 55:8. We simply trust in the calling God has placed upon our lives. The call of God is nothing to be trifled with. It is not just the called of the ordained but the priesthood of all baptized believers that will get us through this liminal season of transition. God has an amazing way of using ordinary people to do extraordinary things when they dare say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” – I Samuel 3:9; or, “Here am I Lord; send me.” – Isaiah 6:8. 
I know without a doubt that God has called and continues to call passionate spiritual disciples in Kentucky, Red Bird, and North Carolina who love the church and desire to lead in making disciples who are changing the world. I have discovered and been blessed by the amazing gift of leadership in Kentucky, Red Bird, and North Carolina. I am both excited and totally aware of the challenges – or should I say opportunities – that lie ahead of the three Conferences. We will together “See the Possibilities and Live the Promise.” God has never asked us to do anything that God will not supply us the grace, courage, and strength to accomplish what is asked. God’s purpose is something God alone can see, especially in seasons like the current one.
Please be in prayer for us and all the bishops, annual conferences, laity, and clergy who are called to this unique and different way to serve in transition. Please know that it is Dawn’s and my deepest desire to love and serve all the people of Kentucky, Red Bird, and North Carolina with all our heart and strength. We certainly hold each of you in our prayers as we begin to seek practical ways to live in this liminal season. We are honored to have been called “for a time such as this.” Please pray our strength in the Lord.