AC 2021 Letter from Bishop

June 6-8, 2021

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I can think of no better theme for this year’s Annual Conference than “Know the Love of God.”  If we had to summarize the Christian life in a few words, I think the word LOVE would be at the beginning and ending of our definition/summation: Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself, and above all, love Jesus. For passionate spiritual disciples, love is a non‐negotiable value. Our theme text (I John 4:7‐16) for this year’s Annual Conference makes it clear. “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8.

As we approach Annual Conference, I challenge you to examine the ways in which your local church has, is, and will live into the wondrously vertical and horizontal love shown in God’s deep love for the world, a love so deep that God gave his only begotten Son. In what ways are we, as individuals and as the Kentucky Annual
Conference of The United Methodist Church
, giving witness to the world that perfect love casts out all fear? “Who [what] will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us
– Romans 8:35, 37. It is my prayer that we would so deeply share the love of God in Christ Jesus that our communities, nation, and world would ask, “What Wondrous Love Is This!”

As you are aware, once again due to COVID‐19, we will not gather in person. It goes without saying that our hearts long for the day we can gather together, sharing signs of the peace, and renewing relationships through physical presence. Nothing can take the place of shared hugs, face‐to‐face conversation, or a firm handshake. However, as passionate spiritual disciples we believe in a love that overcomes all obstacles. We acknowledge in the face of hopelessness, despair, uncertainty, and injustice that none of these challenges “...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:39.

Friends, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:10‐11. We must not grow weary in well doing. We must fight the good fight understanding that COVID‐19 cannot stop
the love of God. Hatred of any kind cannot stop the love of God. Uncertainty cannot stop the love of God. Injustice cannot stop the love of God.

I pray that the people called United Methodist in Kentucky will, in both word and deed, live into the great hope that absolutely nothing will, can, or ever stop the flow of God’s love. It is simply our calling individually, and as an Annual Conference, to share this amazing love in a hurting, uncertain, and anxious world. We can
do this, Kentucky!

“So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” – 1 John 4:16.

In Christ,



Bishop Leonard E. Fairley