Embrace Conference 2019 – Asbury University
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Embrace Conference 2019

November 10-11, 2019

We invite you to join us for Asbury University’s second annual Embrace Conference, November 19-20, 2019, where we will explore together what mutuality looks like in the context of our Christian faith, and discuss the role of Christians in the work of racial reconciliation in our world today. You won’t want to miss hearing Bishop Fairley, discovering with Shea Brown and Andrew Russell what county records can teach us about racial reconciliation, and participating in breakout sessions. The conference will begin Tuesday at 1 p.m. with registration and conclude by 1 p.m. on Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you in November!

Chapel service from Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Keynote Speaker

Bishop Leonard Fairley
Kentucky Annual Conference, United Methodist Church

Leonard Fairley became bishop of the Kentucky Annual Conference on September 1, 2016. He was nominated by the North Carolina Conference and was that July on the seventh ballot during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

He had served the North Carolina Annual Conference since 1984. His last appointment was serving as district superintendent of the Capital District, the largest district.

Bishop Fairley graduated from Pfeiffer College and Duke University’s School of Divinity. He served at St. Peters in Hamlet and Soapstone in Raleigh before becoming the Rockingham district superintendent. He served in that role for seven years before returning to the local church in 2012 as lead pastor at Saint Francis in Cary.

He 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
  • North Carolina Conference Transition Team
  • Conference Board of Ordained Ministry
  • North Carolina Conference Episcopacy Committee
  • General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegate

He has participated on mission work teams in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Montserrat, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Honduras, Serbia and with 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, until her death in 2013. In January 2018, God answered a prayer for new love; and in September of that year, Bishop Fairley married Dawn Sparks. Dawn had lost her soulmate, David, to cancer in 2015.

He has two adult children, Joshua Fairley and Elizabeth Galbreath as well as four grandchildren. Dawn has two adult children, Luke Sparks and Megan Bracken, as well as three grandchildren.

This is Bishop Fairley’s first episcopal appointment.


Special Feature

Interview with Fayette County Deputy Clerk, Shea Brown

Shea Brown serves as a Deputy Clerk for the Fayette County Clerks Office since March 2000 in the Land Records Department. He is the Bishop of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church since September 2007 and the Director of the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church Bible Institution since February 2018. Shea Brown currently is the Dean of Religious Education for the South District Baptist Association in Kentucky. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors in Legal Studies from Sullivan University, Lexington, Ky. in March 2000, and he has received a Diploma in Biblical Studies from the George W. Dupee Bible Institute, Lexington, Ky. in May 2016.


Sponsored by Asbury’s Office of Intercultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Issues Awareness Committee and Student Intercultural Programs