Bishop Paul Leeland assigned to Western North Carolina Conference (July 15 follow-up)


SEJ 2016 – Reception of Bishop Paul Leeland

On Thursday evening at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., Bishop Paul Leeland, currently serving in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, has been assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy.

Jennifer Davis, the head of the Western North Carolina delegation, and a member the of the episcopacy committee, remarked about his assignment: “We are incredibly blessed to receive Paul Leeland as our Bishop in the Western North Carolina Conference.  He brings to our conference a wealth of wisdom and experience, tireless energy, a collaborative spirit, and a deep appreciation for the rich diversity of The United Methodist Church. He is a strategic team-builder and our conference will be deeply enriched as a result of his gifts and graces.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Leeland received four degrees from schools in North Carolina.  He received his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College, and a M.Div. and Th.M. from Duke Divinity School, and a Doctorate of Education from North Carolina State University.

Before being elected a bishop in 2008, he served churches in the North Carolina Conference (Raleigh area) for 33 years following a stint as Director of Family Counseling in Atlanta after completing seminary.  Just prior to his election to the episcopacy, Leeland was the superintendent for the Goldsboro District in the North Carolina Conference.

After his election in 2008, he was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Conference, which encompasses the southern half of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. It includes more than 141,000 members, including about 900 active and retired pastors serving over 600 churches.

“We are so delighted to have Bishop and Mrs. Leeland coming to serve in Western North Carolina.  His organizational wisdom and strategic focus will allow him to continue the work that we have begun over the last several years.  His energy will be helpful in continuing our forward momentum and his calming presence will be a gift in the midst of these challenging times,” stated Rev. Kim Ingram, conference secretary and member of the jurisdictional episcopacy committee.

Leeland will replace Bishop Larry Goodpaster who has served the Charlotte area since 2008, after eight years as the bishop of the  Alabama-West Florida Conference. Following his retirement, he will become the Bishop-in-Residence at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA.

Rev. Amy Coles, assistant to Bishop Goodpaster,  reflected, “We are excited to welcome Bishop Paul Leeland and his wife, Janet, back to North Carolina.  Bishop Leeland has provided effective, faithful leadership in the Alabama - West Florida Conference for the past 8 years, and I am confident he will bring the same to WNCC.  I look forward to serving with him as he guides us in continuing to follow Jesus, make disciples, and transform lives, communities, and ultimately the world.”

Janet Elaine Dowell, also from Washington, D.C. and Paul Lee Leeland were married in 1968. They have three married children: Rebekah, Nora and Paul Andrew. They have six grandchildren. 

Bishop Leeland will begin his work in Western North Carolina on September 1. He and Janet will reside in Charlotte, N.C.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.