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MEEt the bishop

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Bishop Leonard Fairley


Bishop Leonard Fairley is the Resident Bishop of the Louisville Area, which includes Kentucky Conference in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. He was elected to the episcopacy in 2016.

Bishop Fairley had served the North Carolina Conference since 1984 and his last appointment in North Carolina was serving as the District Superintendent of the Capital District. The Capital District is the largest district in the North Carolina Annual Conference.

Bishop Fairley graduated from Pfeiffer College and Duke University's School of Divinity. He served at St. Peters in Hamlet, NC and Soapstone in Raleigh before becoming the Rockingham District Superintendent. After serving as a District Superintendent for seven years he returned to the local church in 2012 as Lead Pastor at Saint Francis in Cary, NC. 

Bishop Fairley has 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

  • NC Conference Transition Team

  • Conference Board of Ordained Ministry

  • NC Conference Episcopacy Committee

  • General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegate


He has also participated in Mission Work Teams in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Montserrat, Zimbabwe, Haiti and 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, before she died in 2013. He has two adult children, son Joshua Fairley and daughter, Elizabeth Galbreath. He is also the proud grandfather of three grandchildren.

On Sept. 30, 2018, Bishop Fairley and Dawn Sparks became husband and wife during a small, intimate ceremony officiated by Bishop Lindsey Davis.

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