An Invitation from Bishop Leeland

August 06, 2015


As clergy serving churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, you are invited to attend a gathering of all clergy on October 8, 2015, at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church with Bishop Mike Coyner, Resident Bishop of the Indiana Conference. We will gather at 9:30am and begin our worship and work with Bishop Coyner at 10:00am. 

Registration is $10 to cover the cost of the lunch. Please note that due to the agenda, there will not be time to eat off site. Please register your attendance here so that we have a head count for the staff at Frazer. A .5 CEU credit is available.  
All clergy, licensed and ordained, are given the responsibility to preach and teach the Word; to administer the sacraments; to order the life of the Church; and commit to a life of service.  What does it mean to order the life of the Church?

  • We begin by ordering our personal lives through spiritual disciplines; 
  • We order and shape the life of the local congregation to which we are appointed;
  • We order our lives together as clergy by the way in which we speak of one another, encourage, and respect each other. 

Among the specific responsibilities of Bishops is to “Convene the Order of Deacons and the Order of Elders” (par. 414.10,The Book of Discipline 2012).” This gathering also extends the invitation to all local pastors since it relates to how we will order our lives together as clergy. When Jesus prayed that we may all be one as He and the Father are one, we recognize the heart of unity is the also the heart of the Gospel–reconciliation. The truth is, the way we reflect our relationship with one another reveals how we are in relationship with God.
With two months before we gather, I trust we will begin talking about what it means to “order the life of the Church,” which includes not just our local congregations, but also our individual lives and collegial life together. The way in which we live in relationship to one another is a spiritual issue, reflecting our own spiritual maturity. I am honored to welcome Bishop Coyner to guide us in how we might order our lives together as clergy. He has led conversations within annual conferences and clergy, as it relates to whether our common life together will lead to polarizing or bridge-building communities.
The Apostle Paul instructs us to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience” (Col 3:12). If we were to select and clothe ourselves in one of these characteristics, what would it look like? 
Please place October 8, 2015, on your calendar and prepare yourself with prayer as we begin this broader conversation of how we might truly order the life of the Church. 

I express gratitude for each of you and your service as clergy as we model what it means to be shaped into the image of Christ.
Paul L. Leeland
Resident Bishop