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2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference

Summer 2018

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of the Mississippi Annual Conference



14 IN THIS ISSUE 4 Welcome from Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.



When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” – II Kings 2:9

6 2018 AC Agenda 10 2018 AC Speaker Biographies 12 Staying Focused on Discipleship

On our cover: Bishop Swanson apprenticing ordinands by sharing wisdom on preparing for ministry now and in the future and ‘leading in unchartered territory,’ days before ordination. Photo courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc. Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 1


Annual Conference Session

Letter from the Editor

Jasmine Haynes Editor-in-Chief

If you are reading this, you’re joining us for one

go-to-guide for all 2018 happenings and close-by

of the biggest and best faith ‘family reunions’ in

points of interests. It also features a tentative

Mississippi. Throughout the year, nearly 1,000

agenda, ministry resources, stories about our

faith communities are engaged in building

past and stories about what we’re doing right

God’s kingdom by serving the neighborhoods,

now—witnessing to the world as the body

school districts, prisons, homeless shelters and

of Christ. So it will help you as a ‘newbie’ get

individuals God has placed in your parishes.

acclimated, or serve as a great guide to hand

The session of annual conference is where we

off to someone you’re apprenticing for future

celebrate the collaborative ministry of our local

annual conferences. I pray a double portion of

congregations, and highlight how we’ve been

the Holy Spirit fall fresh on you during this 2018

Living Out The POWER of We as a conference.

session of annual conference, and may the God

Whether this is your first year attending, or

of hope fill you with joy!

you’ve been many times and are discerning

Peace and blessings,

God’s voice in apprenticing someone to come

Jasmine Haynes

in the near future, The Circuit Rider Souvenir


Journal is designed to serve as your one-stop,

2 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

All AC photos courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.





Ways to Stay Connected to the Conference L

ooking for ways to stay connected to the Mississippi Conference?

Follow, like or opt-in to any of the options below to receive tips, updates and ministry resources from the Mississippi Conference:

The Mississippi United Methodist Conference Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. MS Conference Youth and Families @Mississippi_UMC Mississippi Conference 2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference

TheCircuitRider Souvenir Journal

2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal PUBLISHER Mississippi Conference Communications EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jasmine Haynes ART DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cindy Clark EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATION Rev. Vickie White

Mississippi United Methodist Conference ConnecTText 95577; keywords: faithcommunity, MSUMC and MSUMCYouth Sign Up Now! Sign up for e-news updates Sign up for The Circuit Rider eNewsletter


Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 3

From the Bishop

Welcome to the 2018 Session

of the Mississippi Annual Conference!


My brothers and sisters, I welcome you to the 2018 Session of The Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. John Maxwell, in one of his most recent books “Developing the Leader Within You” writes, “We have to be intentional about our lives and the path we choose to walk.” I believe Maxwell is right and that people become great in their endeavors if they are intentional. One of the best ways to be intentional about being a ‘disciple of Jesus Christ’ is by intentionally following someone that is becoming or is already where we desire to be in Christ. This is practicing intentional discipleship. It is finding those that can be your mentor so that you may become their apprentice. No one becomes a mature disciple of Christ by accident. It is an exercise of the will. Our Bible passage for this year’s annual conference is: “Fifty members from the group of prophets also went along, but they stood at a distance. Both Elijah and Elisha stood beside the Jordan River. Elijah then took his coat,

4 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018


2018 Annual Conference Session

A Double Portion II Kings 2:9

Living Out The POWER of We

rolled it up, and hit the water. Then the water was divided in two! Both of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before I’m taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Let me have twice your spirit.” Elijah said, “You’ve made a difficult request. If you can see me when I’m taken from you, then it will be yours. If you don’t see me, it won’t happen.” They were walking along, talking, when suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm. Elisha was watching, and he cried out, “Oh, my father, my father! Israel’s chariots and its riders!” When he could no longer see him, Elisha took hold of his clothes and ripped them in two. Then Elisha picked up the coat that had fallen from Elijah. He went back and stood beside the banks of the Jordan River. He took the coat that had fallen from Elijah and hit the water. He said, “Where is the LORD, Elijah’s God?” And when he hit the water, it divided in two! Then Elisha crossed over.”

– 2 Kings 2:7-14 Common English Bible

I ask that in preparation for us to be on one accord that you not only read this passage but all of chapter two of II Kings. In addition, I ask that you come praying for the Holy Spirit to fall upon all of our preachers and presenters and upon all of us so that we might surrender ourselves to be apprentices

One of the best ways to be intentional about being a ‘disciple of Jesus Christ’ is by intentionally following someone that is becoming or is already where we desire to be in Christ. This is practicing intentional discipleship. It is finding those that can be your mentor so that you may become their apprentice.

preparing for the Lord to employ us in God’s work. Hallelujah!!!

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

Photo of Bishop Swanson courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography , Inc

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 5

2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference Agenda

This is a tentative agenda. Event details are subject to change. Visit the 2018 Session of the Mississippi Conference app ( for the latest updates.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens

2nd Floor, 211

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Tour of Museums (Pre-registration

with payment required)

12:00 p.m. Exhibit Booths Open East Lobby/Exhibit Hall 12:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. Registration Board of Ordained Ministry Meeting

West Lobby Ballroom C, D & E

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Workshops 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Workshops 6:30 p.m. Glory Sightings Banquet

Christ UMC

Thursday, May 31, 2018 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

West Lobby


(Closed during Opening Worship)

7:30 a.m. UMM Annual Meeting and Breakfast Central UMC 7:30 a.m.

Extension Ministry Breakfast with Bishop Swanson

8:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens 9:00 a.m. Opening Worship Exhibit Hall Bishop David Graves, preaching Registration will close during Morning Worship 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Youth Zone Open (for ages 12+) 2nd Floor, 209-210

10:30 a.m. Clergy Executive Session

Ballroom C, D & E

10:30 a.m. Laity Executive Session

Exhibit Hall

10:30 a.m. Clergy Spouses Brunch

2nd Floor, 203-204

11:30 a.m. Clergy Spouses Meeting

2nd Floor, 203-204

11:45 a.m. Lunch Break Asbury Alumni and Friends Luncheon Madison First UMC (2050 Historic Main St, Madison) All AC photos courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

6 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

Duke Divinity Alumni and Friends Luncheon Galloway Memorial UMC (305 N. Congress St, Jackson)

Emory/Candler Luncheon Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl Street, Jackson)

8:00 a.m. Annual Conference Registration Opens West Lobby

2nd Floor, 201

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Youth Zone Open (for ages 12+) 2nd Floor, 209-210

Local Pastors Lunch

2nd Floor, 207-208

Rust College Luncheon UMW Luncheon 2:00 p.m. Opening Plenary Opening Hymn

Exhibit Hall

“And Are We Yet Alive�


8:00 a.m. Morning Bible Study Laity Address

Dr. Dorothy Terry

Greetings from Jackson Convention Complex Al Rojas, General Manager Special Greetings

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. (and others)

Setting of the Bar

Rev. Trey Harper, Secretary

LaToya Redd Thompson, Lay Leader

United Methodist Men

Fred Shaw, Executive Committee Member

United Methodist Men Video United Methodist Women

Dorothy Carter, President

Faith Community Formation Report Rev. Tim Thompson Advocacy Ministry Report

Election of Tellers and Journal Staff Presentation and Adoption of Agenda

Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare 100th Anniversary Celebration

Standing Rules Report (to lay on the table)

Student Ministries

Dr. David Beckley CFA/Budget (to lay on the table) Consent Calendar

David Stotts

Annual Conference Board of Global Ministries Report Rev. Sarah Jo Adams Wilson Mellie Jordan Hollis Crowder

Camping Ministry

Rev. Andy Stoddard

Camp Lake Stephens

Conversation with Bishop Swanson and the General Conference Delegation

Camp Wesley Pines Gulfside Assembly

5:00 p.m. Dinner Break

Seashore Assembly

Registration Closes Exhibit Hall

Dr. Elijah Stansell Michael Hedgepeth

Rev. Bess Perrier Higher Education and Campus Ministry

Rev. Kurt Appel

Community Centers

Friday, June 1, 2018 7:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens

Mike Howington


Petitions and Resolutions (to lay on the table)

7:00 p.m. Mission Service

Rev. Tim Thompson


Rev. Trey Harper

Constitutional Amendment Voting

St. Andrews Mission 2nd Floor, 211

7:30 a.m. Millsaps College Alumni & Friends Breakfast Galloway Memorial UMC

Exhibit Hall


Rev. Andy Stoddard

Exhibit Hall

Lead by Rev. Hugh Griffith, Mississippi Wesley Foundations

Wesley House Continued on next page...

(305 N. Congress St, Jackson)

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 7

2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference Agenda 10:00 a.m. Memorial Service Gathering

Ballroom C

10:15 a.m. Break

This is a tentative agenda. Event details are subject to change. Visit the 2018 Session of the Mississippi Conference app ( for the latest updates.

5:00 p.m. Dinner Break Central UMC

Gammon/BMCR Dinner

10:30 a.m. Memorial Service Exhibit Hall Rev. Mattie Gipson, preaching

Visitation following service

6:45 p.m. Clergy Gather to Robe for Ordination Ballrooms C, D & E

10:30 a.m. Registration Concludes 11:45 a.m. Doors open for Retiree Lunch, must have ticket in hand Ballrooms A & B 12:00 p.m. Lunch Break Retiree Lunch (Pre-registration required)

Ballrooms A & B

Laity Luncheon (Pre-registration required)

Ballrooms D & E

Memphis Theological Seminary Luncheon Rev. Dr. Larry Hilliard

Board of Ordained Ministry Report

MTS Dinner

7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Service of Ordination and Commissioning Exhibit Hall Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., preaching

Saturday, June 2, 2018

7:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens 8:00 a.m. Youth Zone Opens for ages 12+ 2nd Floor, 209-210

1:30 p.m. Business Session Forming Spiritual Leaders

(500 Farish St., Jackson)

Rev. Cary Stockett

Celebration of Retirees

8:00 a.m. Morning Bible Study

Exhibit Hall

Led by Rev. Maxine Bolden, Mississippi Wesley Foundations Exhibit Hall

Nominations Committee Report Rev. Trey Harper Vital Congregations Committee Nominations

Business Certified Lay Minister’s Report

Rev. Dr. Scott Wright

Vital Congregations Report Rev. Vicki Sizemore-Baldwin

Resolutions and Petitions

Rev. Stephen Sparks

Journal Report

Patricia Williams

Commission on Communications Report Rev. Kevin Carder

Administry Report

Mississippi United Methodist Foundation Report Rev. Mike Hicks


Episcopal Address

Appointive Cabinet Report District Property

David Stotts

Debra McIntosh

Where Shall the 2019 Annual Conference Meet? Rev. Andy Stoddard

Rob Webb

Dr. Dorothy Terry

Dr. Ed Jones

Ordering of Ministry with 2018 Pastoral Appointments Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. Recognition of Local Pastors

50th Anniversary of the Merger Africa University Imagine No Malaria Episcopacy Committee

Rev. Dr. Stephen Cook

Remembrance of Closed Churches

Council on Finance and Administration Archives and History Report

David Stotts

Conference Treasurer’s Report

Bishop James Swanson Sr.

Administry Reports

Rev. Trey Harper

Rev. Robert Cook Rev. Danny Rowland

10:00 a.m. Exhibit Booths Close 10:45 a.m. Conference Adjournment: Sine Die 11:00 a.m. Closing Worship Exhibit Hall Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., preaching

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Jackson Convention Complex Floor Plan JACKSON CONVENTION COMPLEX LEVEL 1



Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 9


AC Speaker Biographies

2018 Session Annual Conference Speakers REV. JEFF CAMPBELL


Executive Director of Conference Relationships at Discipleship Ministries

Mississippi Conference Resident Bishop

Pre-Conference Workshop Speaker Developing an Intentional Discipleship System May 30, 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., 3rd Floor Theater

Rev. Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell connects with conference leadership to strengthen intentional disciple-making across the connection. Campbell is an ordained elder of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference where he served for 13 years as a senior pastor prior to coming to Discipleship Ministries. He received his undergraduate degree in English, Linguistics and Speech from the University of Mary Washington and his Master of Divinity degree from Drew Theological School. Prior to his call to ministry, he worked for the Limited Inc. managing Communications and Store Operations.


Manager of Local Church Services at United Methodist Communications Pre-Conference Workshop Speaker Managing Internal Church Communications Workshop, May 30, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.; Church Marketing, May 30, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., 2nd Floor Rooms 203 and 204

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.

Craig Catlett holds a bachelor’s degree in Religion, a master’s degree in Communication and has over 20 years of experience working for churches and religious organizations. Before coming to work for United Methodist Communications, Catlett taught interpersonal communication, public speaking and business and professional communication for colleges and universities across Kentucky. Catlett’s background in ministry and teaching communication have uniquely aligned to help him tell God’s story in The United Methodist Church.

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Preaching Ordination June 1, 2018, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Exhibit Hall Closing Worship June 2, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall James Edward Swanson Sr. began his tenure in September 1, 2012 with his first public appearance one day earlier to the conference’s Seashore District. He went there to be with those affected by Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall on August 28, 2012, causing additional devastation to Mississippi coastal communities recovering from Hurricane Katrina seven years earlier. Swanson listened to the people of Mississippi and discovered values deep within their hearts—love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship—thus, becoming the Core Four Values of the Mississippi Conference. It is from this Core Four that the churches seek to center their unique ministries. Swanson was elected a bishop of The United Methodist Church during the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. He was assigned to the Holston Conference and served there for eight years. Under his leadership, the Sudan Mission initiated. The number of United Methodist congregations in Sudan grew from three to 30 between 2006 and 2012. Bishop Swanson is married to Delphine Yvonne Ramsey Swanson. They have the joy of being parents to six adult children: Karen (Earl Jones Jr.), James Edward Swanson Jr. (Yaki), Shondell Swanson (Angela), Carlton Eugene Swanson (Ivis), Janae (Vernon Brown) and Joshua Emile’ Swanson (LaShay). The Swansons are blessed with 15 grandchildren.

BISHOP DAVID GRAVES Alabama-West Florida Conference Resident Bishop Preaching Opening Worship Thursday, May 31, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall Bishop Graves is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He received his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta. Bishop Graves has been an ordained pastor in The United Methodist Church for over 28 years. He began his ministry at Fountain City United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. His first appointment was as the youth director and associate pastor for Hixson United Methodist Church in Chattanooga. He served as pastor for two Kingsport area churches, Saint Matthew’s United Methodist Church and Mountain View United Methodist Church. He was senior pastor for Ooltewah United Methodist Church, a large membership church. He was appointed district superintendent for the Kingsport District of the Holston Conference where he served for six years and was dean of the cabinet. He comes to the Alabama-West Florida Conference from Church Street United Methodist Church in Knoxville. He was appointed to the Alabama-West Florida Conference as resident bishop on July 14, 2016 at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. He and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 35 years. They have two children: their daughter, Casey is married to Bryan Johnson and their son’s name is Brooks; and their son, Gregg.

REV. MATTIE GIPSON Greenwood District Superintendent Preaching Memorial Service Friday, June 1, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall

She graduated from Rust College with honors and a major in Music Education and a minor in English. In 1972, Gipson began a career with the Bell Telephone Company, enjoyed her employment there and envisioned staying with the company for 30 years and retiring. However, she says, God had other plans for her life. Gipson received a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, retired from Bellsouth and became a full-time pastor within the Mississippi Conference. Her first pastoral appointment was St. Paul United Methodist Church in Laurel, which was followed by her serving St. Paul United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg and then Wesley United Methodist Church in Greenwood. Gipson was appointed superintendent of the Greenwood District in 2011. Rev. Mattie Gipson is married to Rev. Frank Lee Gipson, retired pastor of the Mississippi Conference and they are parents of four adult children: Michael (Mindy) of San Jose, Calif.; Stephanie of Memphis, Tenn.; Herrita (Henry Johnson) of Atlanta and Tamara (Marvin Johnson) also of Atlanta. They have five grandchildren.

Bishop David Graves

Rev. Mattie Gipson

Download the 2018 Session of AC App! Access the most up-to-date

information about our event including schedules, a preliminary agenda, maps and much more. You can get the guide here at or use the QR code to download the app.

Rev. Mattie Gipson is a native of Oxford, Mississippi and after graduating from Central High School as class valedictorian, she enrolled in Rust College in Holly Springs. While at Rust, she was a member of the world renowned Rust College A ‘Capella Choir.

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 11

From the Conference Lay Leader

Staying Focused on Discipleship Another wonderful time of fellowship, worship

our churches as incubators for lay people to

and leadership is upon us! Like many of us,

become skilled and confident disciple makers

I grew up in church—a United Methodist

and accept the responsibility to apprentice

church—and consider church a significant

others in disciple-making, how different

part of my life and identity. Every year I

would our annual conference be?

look forward to this time with other United Methodists. As we enjoy visiting friends and

LaToya Redd Thompson

deciding the direction of our conference for

Mississippi Conference Lay Leader

the next year, I pray we remain mindful of our

If disciple-making was the true bread and butter of our lives, would our churches and our system be more united? I believe we

primary commitment—to make disciples.

would. If disciple-making was our one wildly

At annual conference—as in our churches—it

rightful place as lesser in the decision-making

is tempting to get into a routine, enjoying the

and direction of our local churches? I believe

not forget to reflect—how

familiarity and comfort of annual conference

they would. If disciple-making was the greatest

far have we come since last

and even expecting some discord. This year,

desire of our hearts, would God show us

as we focus on apprenticeship, hopefully, we

how to bring people to Christ and thereby

year in making disciples

will be mindful of those around us who God is

transform the world and ourselves in the

of Jesus Christ for the

calling us to invest in and those not yet in our circles and not yet in our churches who God is

process? I believe He would.

As we reunite, let us

transformation of the world?

calling us to invest in. As we reunite, let us not

This quadrennium has no doubt for some

forget to reflect—how far have we come since

become synonymous with its challenges.

last year in making disciples of Jesus Christ for

Hopefully, this annual conference session will

the transformation of the world?

be the turning point where the challenges

Paragraph 127 of The Book of Discipline states

important goal, would lesser things take their

that “the witness of the laity, their Christ-like examples of everyday living, as well as the sharing of their own faith experiences of the Gospel, is the primary evangelistic ministry through which all people will come to know Christ and The United Methodist Church will fulfill its mission.” The challenges our church and our annual conference have faced over the last year are, in part, the result of our failure to live up to our commitment as laity. If we laity fully embrace the calling in paragraph 127 as our individual daily mission, develop

12 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

cause us to begin the tedious process of turning the ship by turning our hearts— turning them toward those who do not yet know the love of Christ and those who need our apprenticing in helping others know Christ. May this become a gathering of glory sightings—where each church comes excited to celebrate how many disciples it made over the past year. The thought of that type of annual conference session makes me say— as many of us have heard Bishop Swanson say—Glooo-ry! Photo of LaToya Redd Thompson by Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

2017 Top 20 Sunday Fund Donors

Celebration. Innovation. Hope.


A Resident Benevolence Fund

A special thanks to all the churches and individuals who assist our ministry through the Sunday Fund Campaign! TOP 20 CHURCHES (Overall Giving) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Yazoo City First UMC Christ UMC - Jackson Tupelo First UMC Central UMC - Meridian Hernando UMC Galloway Memorial UMC - Jackson Cleveland First UMC Meridian First Baptist Church Gulfport First UMC Cokers Chapel UMC - Meridian

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

College Hill Baptist Church - Vardaman Oxford-University UMC Anderson UMC - Jackson Trinity UMC - Gulfport Maples Memorial UMC - Olive Branch Tunica UMC College Park UMC - Meridian St. Matthew’s UMC - Madison Main Street UMC - Hattiesburg Madison UMC

TOP 20 CHURCHES (Average Giving by Membership) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Yazoo City First UMC Holly Bluff UMC Cokers Chapel UMC - Meridian Hermanville UMC McLain UMC Evergreen UMC - Nettleton College Park UMC - Meridian Covenant UMC - Columbus Cleveland First UMC Sharon UMC

11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Merigold UMC Union UMC - Dekalb New Hope UMC Shipman Chapel UMC - Cleveland Strong UMC - Aberdeen Independence UMC - Coldwater Louise UMC Washington UMC - Natchez Tunica UMC Wesley Chapel UMC - Houston

UMC Top District in Overall Giving – West Jackson District Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 13

2016 - 2018

Mission Focus

Mission Focus 2016-2018 Imagine No Malaria

Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

During the 2018 Session of the Mississippi

2018 annual conference mission offering.

It is estimated

Annual Conference, we are celebrating how our

Darlene Dotherow volunteered to be the chair of

that 6.8 million

congregations have been Living Out The POWER

the conference’s campaign steering committee

of We and saving lives through our two-year

and Charity Gordon came on board as the

Imagine No Malaria Mission Focus. At the 2016

conference INM field coordinator in 2016 to aid

Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference,

the conference in reaching that goal. As field

malaria have

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. announced the

coordinator, Gordon worked daily traveling all

been averted

conference would be contributing to Imagine

over Mississippi speaking and inspiring others

No Malaria, The United Methodist church-

to join in the efforts of Imagine No Malaria for

wide effort to overcome malaria in Africa and

a year.

deaths from

since 2001.

eliminate deaths caused by this preventable disease. Imagine No Malaria combines integrated health infrastructure, education and advocacy to address death and the debilitating effects of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

One steering committee, one INM field coordinator, 15 district ‘mosquito people’ connecting with local churches, one INM Lenten Devotion Guide, two years and several local, district and conference-wide fundraisers later,

Swanson set the goal for the Mississippi

altogether the Mississippi Conference has

Conference Mission Focus to provide 100,000

raised money equivalent to saving over 46,100

mosquito nets for Imagine No Malaria by the

lives. Churches are asked to collect generous

14 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

every life save a life



donations because the hope is to reach or surpass the goal of saving 100,000 lives by the mission service offering during annual

• Protected over 175,000 structures with indoor residual spraying (IRS)

conference Thursday, June 1, 2018.

• Trained thousands of community health workers and volunteers

What Exactly Is Malaria?

Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary ministry of the people of The

Malaria is caused by a parasite, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of the female anopheles mosquito. This mosquito flies and feeds at night—which is why bed nets are an effective prevention tool. When an infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite enters the

United Methodist Church, putting faith into action to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa, especially the death of a child or a mother. With a comprehensive approach to fighting this killer disease, Imagine No Malaria empowers the people of Africa to improve health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria.

bloodstream and heads for the liver, where it multiplies. It then re-enters the bloodstream, attacking red blood cells. Typically, someone with malaria experiences a high fever, chills, joint pain and headaches. Left untreated, symptoms eventually advance to organ failure. Nearly 90 percent of malaria’s victims are children under the age of 5 and pregnant women.

The Big Picture The United Methodist Church goal to raise $75 million to eradicate malaria in places like Sub-Saharan Africa started in 2008. The funds cover the cost for prevention (bed nets), education, communication and treatment. According to the 2017 Imagine No Malaria Impact Overview: • Global malaria mortality rates have fallen by an estimated 60 percent since The United Methodist Church began this effort • Because of the global effort to fight malaria, it is estimated that 6.8 million deaths from malaria have been averted since 2001

The INM Steering Committee announce the INM Mission Focus at the 2016 annual conference session. Photo by Greg Camplbell Photograpy, Inc.

• In the past decade, life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 9.4 years—1.2 years of which is directly attributable to the reduction in malaria mortality • United Methodists engaged in a global effort of 49 conferences representing over 6 million United Methodists accepted the challenge to raise funds And together, we have: • Provided over 4 million life-saying bed nets • Renovated 61 facilities • Treated over 2.7 million people for malaria Charity Gordon, 2016-2017 INM field coordinator for the Mississippi Conference Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 15


100 Years of

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare By Mary Alice Taylor Sr. Corporate Communications Specialist for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH)

Mississippi Conference. He was concerned

adult hospitals, one children’s hospital, a

began in the early 1900s as Methodist

for his pastor who was being treated in

home health agency, residential hospice,

Hospital and the dream of John M. Sherard,

the charity ward of another hospital in

surgery and diagnostic centers, cancer

photo below, a Mississippi farmer and

Memphis. It became Sherard’s mission

treatment center, physician practices and

Methodist Church layman from the North

in life to establish a place that provided

outpatient clinics.

high-quality care for all, regardless of ability to pay. He worked throughout several conference areas to gain support from conference leaders, churches and women’s groups. Methodist Hospital opened its doors in 1918. Now, one hundred years later, 2018 marks Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s Centennial celebration. Over the past 100 years, MLH has grown from a single hospital in a donated space into a healthcare system that includes five All photos courtesy of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

16 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

STEADFAST IN ITS MISSION As part of MLH, our Faith and Health Division works diligently to serve, educate and care for patients, families and associates, both inside and outside of the hospital. Methodist’s faith-based heritage and commitment to the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church ensure a strong commitment to holistic care for all, not only addressing the physical needs of those in

Photo far left: Blessing of the Hands at the opening of our Emergency Department at Methodist University Hospital. This photo: Providing blood pressure checks.

our communities, but also their emotional and spiritual needs. The Faith and Health Division includes spiritual care services which provide dedicated pastoral care by highly trained, board certified chaplains for all patients and associates, available 24/7, seven days a week. Methodist University Hospital is home to the Center of Excellence in Faith and Health, where educational initiatives, research projects and special events have a place to grow and to affect our hospitals and communities. The Center of Excellence is also home to the Methodist Clinical Pastoral Education program, training future chaplains, pastors and other faith leaders. The Methodist Employee Assistance Program and the Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network also have their home in the Faith and Health Division. Methodist Employee Assistance Program focuses on offering counseling services to Methodist associates and the See Le Bonheur, page 25

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 17


Points of Interest

Explo re the City with Soul

Arial view of downtown Jackson (top, center), Motto of the Museum of Mississippi History (middle, left), the Mississippi Children’s Museum (middle, right), located right next door to the Jackson Convention Complex is the Mississippi Museum of Art (bottom, left) and the front of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (bottom, right).

Photos courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

18 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018


elcome to Jackson! During your time at the 2018 Session of

the Mississippi Annual Conference, take a moment to discover the sights and fabulous food that Jackson has to offer. In between worship and business sessions, explore the ‘City with Soul’ and eat at these downtown Jackson restaurants:

Great Places to Eat Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro is open until 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday and open until 11:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday; 407 S. Congress St.; Iron Horse Grill is open until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, open until 10:00 p.m. on Thursday and open until midnight on Friday - Saturday; 320 W. Pearl St.; Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues opens at 4:30 p.m. through 3:00 a.m.; 538 N. Farish St.; King Edward Grille is open until 9:30 p.m.; 235 W. Capitol St.; http:// Hal & Mal’s is open until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Thursday and open until 10:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday; Mayflower Café is open until 10:00 p.m.; 123 W. Capitol St.; www. McAlister’s Deli is open until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday - Friday; 220 E. Amite St.; Parlor Market is open until 9:30 p.m. Wednesday – Thursday and open until 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 115 W. Capitol St.; www. Big Apple Inn is open until 9:00 p.m.; 509 N. Farish St. Stamps Super Burger is open until 8:00 p.m.; 1801 Dalton St.; http:// Wasabi Sushi & Bar is open until 10:00 p.m. Wednesday – Thursday and open until 11:00 p.m. Friday – Saturday; 100 E. Capitol St., Ste. 105; Elite Restaurant is open until 9:00 p.m.; 141 E. Capitol St.; http://bit. ly/2relite Need more options? Discover the best local places to eat in Jackson and enjoy special perks during your visit. Go to

Points of Interests (POIs) Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Museum of Mississippi History Mississippi Museum of Art Mississippi Children’s Museum Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 19

1968 - 2018

50 Years of UMC


Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church. Amen.

The United Methodist Church was officially formed on April 23, 1968 with the unification of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church, along with the dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction, a segregated group of African American congregations. Uniting the two churches had been in the making for more than 10 years. Two years before the union, the General Conferences of each church separately approved the 307-page “Plan of Union.” On April 23, Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church joined hands at the constituting General Conference at Dallas Memorial Auditorium (photo bottom right). In unison, the two bishops, 1,300 delegates and 10,000 visitors recited these words: “Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church. Amen.” Flags from 53 countries testified to the breadth of the new

20 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

Robert O. Tupper II, representing the EUB, and Rhonda Renfro, representing the Methodist Church, shake hands as part of the ceremony uniting the two denominations into The United Methodist Church, on April 23, 1968, in Dallas.

denomination which joined 10.3 million Methodists with 750,000 members of the EUB. Thus, these two churches, each with distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world, came together to become the largest Protestant denomination at that time. To make the union happen, each denomination made compromises. The racially

Racial segregation was one of the main issues confronting the merger that created The United Methodist Church.

For many, the processional at the April 23, 1968, uniting service was a highlight of the Uniting Conference in Dallas.

The word ‘United’ also became part of the new church’s name. Late in the conference, delegates realized that the work of actual uniting could not be completed in 1968. A special session of General Conference was approved for 1970. It met in St. Louis. The Uniting Conference also approved the development of an official insignia for the new church and the cross and flame was adopted later that year.

How the Uniting Conference Affected Mississippi Methodism In Mississippi, 1968 was the first session of the Mississippi Conference—and its antecedents—since union of the two churches. That session represented the continuing life of the Mississippi Conference, and its antecedents of the former Methodist Episcopal Church (18131939), the former Methodist Episcopal Church South (1845-1939) and the former Methodist Protestant Church (1841-1939) brought together in 1939 at the formation of The Methodist Church. “Where do we go from here… Chaos or Community?” appears on the sign held by the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell by the entrance to the plenary for the 1968 Uniting Conference in Dallas.

segregated Central Jurisdiction of The Methodist Church was eliminated. The Evangelical United Brethren — following petitions from the church’s Illinois Conference — ultimately made abolishing the segregated institution a condition for union, said the Rev. J. Steven O’Malley. He was an ordained EUB pastor at the time of the merger and now a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. “This move reflects longstanding EUB opposition to segregation and, before that, slavery,” he said.

In a reversal of what happened in prior mergers, the 1968 union also assured women the right to be ordained and have full clergy rights, said the Rev. Patricia Thompson. She is the author of “Courageous Past — Bold Future: The Journey Toward Full Clergy Rights for Women in The United Methodist Church.” Also, United Methodists in the U.S. adopted the Methodist practice of life tenure for bishops. The Evangelical United Brethren’s Council on Ministries structure was adopted, and is still used to coordinate ministries at the local church and other levels of the denomination.

There were no EUB congregations in Mississippi and hence, no formal recognition of union was made in the conference sessions of the four conferences at the time: Mississippi Conference and North Mississippi Conference in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, and the Mississippi Conference and Upper Mississippi Conference in the Central Jurisdiction. At the same time, the institutionalized racism of the former Methodist Church’s segregating Central Jurisdiction began dismantling. This critical and life-giving tributary to United Methodism was brought together in Mississippi in 1973, as the four conferences finally came together in the North Mississippi Conference and Mississippi Conference. See Celebrating 50 Years, page 26

Photos courtesy of The UM Commission on Archives and History | UMC 50 Badge design by Troy Dossett, UM Communications

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 21

Craig Catlett, Senior Manager of Local Church Services, will be leading two interactive training experiences during the Mississippi Annual Conference gathering this year.

Great Communication Can Change the World By Laura Buchanan


Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications

The world is in need of

communicating so that we can effectively

positive messages and,

connect and share powerful words of

as followers of Christ,

grace and peace. For example, we recently

it is part of our calling

conducted a study which revealed that every

to fulfill this need by

single day, 95 percent of spiritual seekers

spreading the good news of God’s love

use the internet and 83 percent use social

in all of the ways we can and in all of the

media! What an amazing opportunity for all

places we can. Understanding how to reach

United Methodists to cultivate connections

out and communicate these messages

with people yearning to find deeper

in clear and compelling ways is a key

meaning in life!

part of meaningful ministry, but it can be challenging.

Research such as this is only one small glimpse into the information and

At United Methodist Communications, we

resources we generate at United Methodist

strive to better understand how people are

Communications, all of which are developed with local churches in mind. We want to be your partner in ministry as you seek new ways to offer hope to your community.


BIBLE INTRODUCTION FOR CHILDREN  Learning about GOD should NOT be expensive!  Digital & Physical Teacher & Student Workbooks 22 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

Learning Together No matter the size of your congregation, whether you love technology or not, or how long you’ve been in church leadership, our online training center is a great place for both lay and clergy members to learn

something new. You’ll find a host of courses at, including: • Launching Your Church Website • Social Media For Churches • Managing Internal Church Communications • Connectional Giving • Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community • What It Means to be United Methodist • Micro-trainings: 20 minute “bursts of knowledge” We are pleased to bring two of these courses to life during your annual conference gathering this year. “Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community” lays the groundwork for leaders to build and start implementing a strategic marketing plan. We’ll overview the planning process, adopting consistent branding standards and how churches can reach people effectively. “Managing Internal Church Communications” helps participants determine what and how to communicate with church staff, an essential step in ensuring that messages are consistent. We’ll also outline techniques to help leaders be goal-oriented in their internal communications by creating a strategic communication plan, maximizing church email effectiveness and working with volunteers.

Growing Together After you’ve explored training opportunities, our journey together continues at, the place to find information about topics ranging from social media ideas and helpful outreach tools to grant opportunities and seasonal resources. You can even sign up for our bi-weekly e-newsletter, MyCom, to get the latest tips, hints, how-to’s and church marketing podcast episodes delivered to your inbox. Be a part of embracing great communication and join us as we continue to innovate and live out our vision: “Changing the world by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Laura Buchanan is the Senior Creative Content Specialist at United Methodist Communications. Reach out with questions and ideas at lbuchanan@

Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 23


Ordinands & Retirees

Service for the Ordering of Ministry At the Service for the Ordering of Ministry, the Mississippi Conference Board of Ordained Ministry presents Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. those persons who have responded to the call of God to proclaim and live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We honor the following persons and their call to life and work in ordained ministry:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

Ordained Elders

Ordained Deacons

David Ronald Upshaw Jr.

Erin Elise Hicks

Elizabeth Corinne Henry

Chelsey Overstreet Hedglin

Rochelle Ashford-Minor Thomas Eric Davis

We celebrate the ministry of the men and women retiring this year, knowing that they will use their new-found free time in other ways to serve God and advance His kingdom. Well done! Note: This List reflects those retiring as of May 18, 2018.

Elders in Full Connection

Associate Members

Jimmy Barnes

Glenn Freeman

Bryan Carrubba Mike Childs Ada Clay Jodie Cothen III Allen Dearing James Dye Mattie Gipson Giles Lindley Mike Lips Rachel Pitts Dwight Prowell Luther Robertson Jr. John Staggs Rusty White Thomas Elton Artmann Jr.

David Bryant Darrell Sanderson Local Pastors

Other Denomination

Frank Eugene Lilley Jr.

James Sanders McClurkan

Jonathan Andrew Stokes Bess Marie Perrier Aislinn Alysse Kopp Jonathan Andrew Crabtree Sheila Rayburn Cumbest

Celebrating Retirees

Recognize Orders from

Megan Grace Becnel Blister Calvin Cosnahan Mark Anthony Jones

Commissioning as Provisional Elder Elizabeth Cumbest Byrd Brandon Lavonne Halford Elizabeth Ainsworth Miller Jared Owen Saucedo Linda Susan Fox Matthew Allan Hall

Jonathan Kevin Tullos Kathy Anne Price Tara Jeneen Hayes Commissioned as Provisional Deacon Thomas Wesley Ingram Susan Long Hood Associate Membership Daniel Ance Hathorne Ricky Lloyd Reece


Rev. Tara Hayes Provisional Elder

 From your church family – Brookhaven First UMC

Ovee Cornell Walter Downs Nelson Forrest Willie Gore Diana High


Mike Hunter Jimmy Jones Terry Jordan Sr. Frank Kirtley Ethel MageeMontgomery Charlotte Malone Ron Thomas Dot Williams

24 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

Susan Hood Provisional Deacon

From your church family – Brookhaven First UMC

LE BONHEUR page 17 workforce of other organizations, while the Living Well Network provides free referrals to counseling across the Memphis area and beyond. Faith and Health also works closely with churches, non-profits and other community partners to improve health and well-being across the Mid-South through health fairs and the Congregational Health Network Academy.

MAKING HIGH-QUALITY HEALTHCARE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE The Congregational Health Network (CHN) began in Methodist’s Faith and Health Division in 2007. It was created to help MLH address healthcare disparities. Since its inception, the CHN has grown to reach thousands of Memphians and works with more than 600 local churches to help address health disparities. The success of CHN has spread nationwide through its Memphis Model, an educational model that has been adopted by healthcare providers across the country. Hospitals in Baltimore, Atlanta, Orlando and more have adopted the Memphis Model and have trained under the leadership of CHN program directors to address disparities in underserved communities. Today, Methodist’s partnership with United Methodist leaders, churches, boards and agencies continues the 100 year tradition of healing and service that started all those years ago with the inspiration of John Sherard. To learn more about Methodist and its Centennial visit

STAY CONNECTED. Highlighting all the latest news from the Conference

Go to Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 25


Amidst Turmoil, Churches Unite “The church was hopeful. We felt (the unification) was an accomplishment,” said the Rev. J. Spurgeon McCartt, a 95-year-old retired elder who attended as a Holston Conference delegate. “But the country was in chaos.” The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier in the month, sparking race riots. Protests against the Vietnam War had become widespread, particularly on college campuses. The new denomination had its own issues. Those included trying to integrate African-Americans who had, in the Methodist Church, long been in their own Central Jurisdiction. “We were for union. We supported that,” said Rev. Zan Wesley Holmes Jr., a renowned AfricanAmerican elder and civil rights activist in Dallas who attended the Uniting Conference as a young pastor and recent co-founder of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. “But at the same time, we wanted to be sure that our rights and our privileges were respected, in terms of representation in boards and agencies, in the life of the new church.” Indeed, 15 members of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, led by the Rev. Cecil Williams, would hold a silent vigil in front of the auditorium, and later press for hiring African-Americans in administrative jobs at United Methodist Publishing House. Rev. Margery Schleicher, a Uniting Conference page, recalled the national press’ interest in whether presidential candidate George Wallace would come. The former Alabama governor, known for segregationist stands, had been elected a delegate from the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Ultimately, he did not attend. To aid in the merging of white and black conferences, a quadrennial Commission on Religion and Race was created. Four years after its creation, the Commission on Religion and Race was established as a permanent general agency of the church and continues to advocate for inclusion at all levels. Delegates also created the Ministerial Education Fund to support theological education and allowed autonomy for 1.5 million overseas members wanting to form their own denominations or affiliate with united churches.

Blessed Be the Ties The early leaders of what would become The United Methodist Church had close ties. They just took more than a century to bind. Theological traditions 26 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2018

steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism, similar ecclesiastical structures and relationships that dated back almost two hundred years facilitated the union. Philip Otterbein, the German-born co-founder of the United Brethren in Christ, was friends with Francis Asbury, Methodism’s pioneering bishop. In fact, Otterbein participated in Asbury’s ordination at the 1784 Christmas Conference, the event that marked the founding of the Methodist church in America.

Celebrating Here in Mississippi The Mississippi Conference Commission on Archives and History celebrates the 50th Birthday of The United Methodist Church by making available online 50 years of Mississippi Conference Journals. They are available for viewing at the conference website at this link: conferencejournals. Journals of all four antecedent conferences of today’s Mississippi Conference are included: • Mississippi Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction (1968-present) • Mississippi Conference, former Central Jurisdiction (1968-1972) • North Mississippi Conference, Southeastern Jurisdiction (1968-1988) • Upper Mississippi Conference, former Central Jurisdiction (1968-1972) For more information, contact the J.B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism in the Millsaps College Library at 601.974.1077 or at http://bit. ly/2KDRYsv. The journals were digitized through the J.B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism as part of an ongoing project to digitize the journals of all the antecedent groups to the Mississippi Conference back to its beginning in 1813. Funds for the project are provided by the Commission on Archives and History. This article contains research from Debra McIntosh of J.B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism in collaboration with the Mississippi Conference Commission on Archives and History, “Witnesses recall birth of The United Methodist Church” By Sam Hodges, United Methodist News Service (UMNS), “Amid tumult of 1968, a church came together” By Heather Hahn, UMNS and “50 years on, Central Jurisdiction’s shadow looms” By Joey Butler, UMNS.


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Summer 2018 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 27

2018 Session Notes

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Communications Workshop

New Facebook Additions


Churches paticipating in Creating a Culture of Generosity



Spencer Awards



51 Years of Service



Meetings held in our Conference Rooms


College and Ministerial Scholarships


1000 Accounts

2.7M Distributions to churches and ministries

120M Assets under Management

Send us your story!!! Churches have relied upon the Foundation for over 50 years to provide resources for creating generosity. We want to hear your story. We want to know how you tell others about generosity through a narrative budget, planned giving communication, or generosity communication. This year, we are giving away three "Spencer" awards totaling 1,500 dollars for the best stories! For more information, visit our website: or email The deadline to submit is October 1st.

2018 cr pr final 5 26  

2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference The Circuit Rider - Souvenir Journal

2018 cr pr final 5 26  

2018 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference The Circuit Rider - Souvenir Journal