Bishop Leeland Announces Retirement


Bishop Paul L. Leeland has announced his intent to retire, effective September 1, 2021.  We express gratitude for Bishop Leeland and his faithfulness in guiding Western North Carolina for the past five years – the four years of the quadrennium plus one additional year due to the postponement of General and Jurisdictional Conferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Conference has benefitted from Bishop Leeland’s emphases on collaboration, clergy leadership development, anti-racism efforts, and the planting of new churches. A celebration of Bishop Leeland’s ministry will be held during the virtual Annual Conference on June 12, 2021.

Bishop Leeland was elected to the episcopacy in 2008 and served as the Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference for eight years. His home conference is the North Carolina Conference where he served for 40 years prior to being elected as Bishop. Bishop Leeland shares that his ministry can be summarized with the word gratitude: “gratitude for the leadership and laity of the church whose generosity and encouragement provided opportunities to acknowledge my call and desire to serve Christ through the church.”

In retirement, Bishop Leeland and his wife Janet look forward to more time with their children, grandchildren, and friends.  They have three married children: Rebekah, Nora, and Paul Andrew, and have six grandchildren.

The Annual Conference 2021 Offering is being collected in honor of Bishop Leeland and his wife, Janet, with gratitude for all they have done during their time of ministry with the Western North Carolina Conference. Visit the Annual Conference 2021 Offering Page to make a gift in their honor.

The Council of Bishops has announced that Bishop Ken Carter will serve as the resident bishop of Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte Area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of Florida Conference (Florida Area) beginning on September 1, 2021 upon Bishop Leeland's retirement. We look forward to welcoming Bishop Carter home to Western NC and fruitful ministry together. Read a message from Bishop Carter here.

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.