For the past seven years, Bishop Willimon has published weekly messages, his "Bishop's Email." The messages have ranged from his thoughts on ministry, current challenges for our churches, theological and pastoral subjects, prayers, and other thoughts on Christian ministry.
The messages have been published on the North Alabama Conference website and also emailed to subscribers. North Alabama Conference Director of Communication Danette Clifton notes, “The Bishop’s Message email list is one of our largest email subscription lists in the Conference. More than 3200 people receive the emails each week. Many people also forward the email to others on a regular basis.”
The Rev. Mike Holly also puts these messages into a weekly blog, "Peculiar Prophet," which has given them even wider distribution.
"I began the weekly emails, mainly with clergy in mind," said Bishop Willimon. "But then I quickly realized that I got as many responses from laity as from our clergy. I average about twenty or thirty responses each week. Although it's quite a task to produce this many messages every year, it is also a great way to get to know a wide range of people in our church and dialogue with them on important subjects."
Now some of the most memorable of the Bishop's weekly messages have been assembled and published in a book that was released this month by Abingdon Press, A Will to Lead and the Grace to Follow: Letters on Leadership from a Peculiar Prophet. The collection is edited by a former student assistant of Bishop Willimon at Duke the Rev. Bryan Langlands, Interim Chaplain at Georgetown College.
"While serving as a campus pastor and serving a small Methodist church on the weekends, I often struggled with how to do ministry in these diverse settings," said the Rev. Langlands. "Then I discovered Will's emails. They were a wonderful help to my ministry and I thought that they needed to be shared with others."