Bishop William Morris dead at 79

Bishop William Morris with Bishop Paul Leeland

Bishop William Morris with Bishop Paul Leeland

Bishop William Wesley Morris, a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, died this morning. He was 79 years old.

Bishop Morris’s death was announced Thursday by the Tennessee Annual Conference, noting that Morris was in his home when he died.

William Wesley Morris was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was educated in the Baltimore school system. He also graduated from Ohio Wesleyan with an A.B. degree, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary with a B.D. degree, Scarritt College with an M.A. degree with distinction, and Vanderbilt University with a D.Min. degree.

While serving student appointments, Bill was ordained deacon and elder. He served Bethany Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, Union Avenue Community Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois; Christ Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois; Stanley Methodist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee; John Wesley United Methodist Church, Nashville Tennessee and First United Methodist Church, Gallatin, Tennessee. He also served as an Associate Council Director, Council Director and District Superintendent of the Clarksville and Murfreesboro Districts, and on the General Council on Ministries.

On July 15, 1992, he was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, where he was assigned to the Alabama-West Florida Area. In July of 2000, he was assigned to the Nashville Area, retiring in 2008. He served as president of the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits from 2000 to 2004, and as a Trustee at Emory University.

He was married to the late Mary Head Morris of McMinnville, Tennessee, and they have four children: Loretta, Eva, Michael, and Mark. In 2006, he married Princilla Smart Evans.

The funeral service for Bishop Morris will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, at Gallatin First UMC, 149 West Main St., Gallatin, TN 37066.

Visitation will be before the service on Wednesday at Noon.

There also will be visitation with the family at Clark Memorial UMC, 1014-14th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208-3099 from 3 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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James Hamilton
James Hamilton

Bishop Morris was a great man. He was a humble man, too. We will miss his leadership. He was a true trail blazer. He used his gifts and graces to serve the community.
Rev. Hamilton

James V. Lyles
James V. Lyles

Early on, Bishop Morris and I were colleagues in the former East Tennessee Annual Conference(cj). There are a few good and decent men and women in this world. Bishop Morris was one of them.

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