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Leeland elected bishop

Leeland elected bishop

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Leeland elected bishop

July 17, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0883}

An e-Review Feature
By Erik J. Alsgaard**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Rev. Dr. Paul Leeland was elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church July 17 on the sixth ballot of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

Retired Bishop Joe Pennel greets the Rev. Dr. Paul Leeland (right) after his election as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mark Barden. Photo #08-0930. Accompanies e-Review Florida UMNS #0883, 7/17/08. For longer description see photo gallery.

Bishop-elect Leeland, 59, was elected with 298 votes on a ballot where 296 were needed for election.

Leeland was elected from the North Carolina Annual Conference, where he was serving as assistant to the bishop. Leeland has also served as a district superintendent and pastor of several local churches in that conference.

With Leeland’s election at just after 9 a.m., the 503 other delegates, plus hundreds of guests, stood in rousing applause. Leeland was accompanied to the stage by Bishops Al Gwinn of North Carolina, and Marion Edwards, retired, former bishop in North Carolina. Leeland and his wife, Janet, were greeted by the jurisdiction’s active and retired bishops.

Only one bishop needed to be elected at the 2008 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Bishop J. Lawerence McCleskey, of the Western North Carolina Conference, is retiring at the end of this quadrennium.

With the College of Bishops in the Jurisdiction now complete, the task of assigning bishops to their episcopal areas begins. The jurisdictional episcopal committee has begun to meet today, and is expected to announce the assignments soon.

Bishops in The United Methodist Church in the United States are elected and assigned every four years at five concurrent Jurisdictional Conferences.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction runs from Kentucky and Virginia, then east of the Mississippi River to include Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. There are 13 annual conferences in the Southeastern Jurisdiction with 13 bishops. In the United States, there are 50 active bishops; worldwide, there are 69.

A full listing of episcopal assignments in the Southeastern Jurisdiction is available at by clicking on the SEJ button.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.