Bishop Paul L. Leeland was assigned as the Resident Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church in July 2016 and began his duties on September 1.
He was elected to the episcopacy in 2008 and served as the bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference for eight years.
Bishop Leeland, 69, is originally from North Carolina and a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan (B.A.), Duke Divinity School (M.Div. and Th.M.), and North Carolina State University (Ed.D.).
Prior to his election in 2008, he served in the North Carolina Conference 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.
Leeland was ordained by Bishop Robert Blackburn in 1976. As a member of the North Carolina Conference, he served small, medium and large membership churches. He was appointed Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Relations serving under two bishops for a total eight years.
Leeland was elected as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference beginning in 1988 and consecutive years through 2008. He was elected as a delegate to General Conference in 2000, 2004 and 2008. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Red Shoe Award, presented by clergywomen of the North Carolina Annual Conference for “encouragement and support of women in ministry through advocacy, appointment, mentoring and friendship.” Leeland has served general conference boards and agencies in a variety of areas: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, General Board of Church and Society, Wespath Benefits and Investments.
In 1968, Janet Elaine Dowell and Paul Lee Leeland were married. They have three married children: Rebekah, Nora and Paul Andrew, and have six grandchildren.