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2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference

TheCircuitRider Souvenir Journal

The POWER that makes us One Summer 2019



of the Mississippi Annual Conference



4 Welcome from Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. 7 Jackson Convention Complex Floor Plan 18 The Hour’s Media Ministry: Widening the Reach 20 GC 2019 Impact on Local Churches 24 UMW Celebrate 150 Years in Mission 26 200 Years of Global Mission

30 12


28 On our cover: Volunteers from Middlebrook, Alta Woods, Central, St. John’s, St. Paul and Seven Springs United Methodist churches packed 79 chemo care kits to distribute at cancer centers for children and adults throughout the Greater Metro Jackson Area. Photo courtesy the office of Connectional Ministries and Communications

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 1


Annual Conference Session

Letter from the Editor It’s so important to ground everything in worship. In late February, I had the opportunity to experience just how connectional the church is when General Conference opened with a day of prayer and spent time to honor and engage in different cultures and styles of praise. I witnessed worship from Europe, the Philippines, Africa and other regions of the world and I thought to myself, “this must

Highlights from the Mississippi Conference 2019 Day of Mission

be what heaven is like—a multitude of God’s children all praising Him in many ways, but as one body.” Then I got another glimpse

Jasmine Haynes, MMC, APR Editor-in-Chief jhaynes@mississippi-umc.org

of the Kingdom right here in Mississippi in May when faith communities across the connection

on earth—in Mississippi to be exact—in many

participated in projects that demonstrated

different faith community sizes, cultures and

love for their neighbors and for God.


Although the annual conference session is

As you peruse this issue, in between the

where clergy and lay members discern the

tentative agenda and points of interest here

business of the church, it is also a business

in the Greater Jackson Area, you’ll find stories

meeting grounded in worship and mission.

demonstrating how no task is too hard for the

I invite you to read this issue of The Circuit

Holy Spirit working within all of us, who is The

Rider Souvenir Journal with an empty cup and

POWER that makes us One.

a sense of expectancy, as it was designed to fill your heart with joy and share the Kingdom experiences happening right here

Photos courtesy the office of Connectional Ministries and Communications

2 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Peace and blessings, Jasmine Haynes





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 https://bit.ly/2lbVpLm Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. https://bit.ly/2jAYVPu MS Conference Youth and Families http://bit.ly/2dHPNYc @Mississippi_UMC https://twitter.com/Mississippi_UMC 2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference

TheCircuitRider Souvenir Journal

2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal PUBLISHER Mississippi Conference Communications

Mississippi Conference https://bit.ly/2JVqnma Mississippi United Methodist Conference https://bit.ly/2rpHWD7 Sign Up Now! Sign up for e-news updates, which includes The Circuit Rider http://bit.ly/opt-in4


Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 3

From the Bishop

Welcome to the 2019 Session

of the Mississippi Annual Conference!


Welcome to Annual Conference 2019! If this is your first time attending annual conference please know you are in for a wonderful time of worship, decision making about the budgetary needs for mission and ministry of the Mississippi Annual Conference, sharing of glory sightings, God’s movement among us, opportunities to be actively involved in missions work, fellowship and developing new friends. This year’s theme is “The POWER that makes us One.” We will celebrate our annual coming together with opening worship and the sharing of the Holy Eucharist together. You will witness the class of 2019 new ordinands, associate pastors and the local pastors receiving their licenses. I personally want to welcome Dr. Jessica Moffatt to the Mississippi Annual Conference. She will be our preacher for opening worship and our service of ordination. Dr. Claire Sterk, President of Emory University, will be the speaker for the Laity Luncheon. Rev. Dr. Embra Jackson will be the preacher for the Service of Remembrance. We will be electing General and Jurisdictional Delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, as well. I look forward to seeing y’all there. Blessings,


Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

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Photo of Bishop Swanson courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography , Inc

John 17:20-23 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent


me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


POWER that makes us

One Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 5

2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference Agenda Friday, June 7, 2019

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Registration 12:00 p.m. UMW Luncheon

Ballrooms D & E

1:30 p.m. Opening Worship

6:00 p.m. Glory Sightings Banquet

Ballrooms A & B


7:00 a.m. Extension Ministry Breakfast

West Lobby Room 205

7:00 a.m. Millsaps College/Center for Ministry Breakfast Galloway UMC 8:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens

2nd Floor, 211

8:00 a.m. Morning Bible Study

Exhibit Hall

9:00 a.m. Opening Plenary

Exhibit Hall

Delegate Voting

Exhibit Hall

10:30 a.m. Mississippi Clergy Spouses Brunch Rooms 203-204 12:00 p.m. Lunch Break 12:00 p.m. Memphis Theological Seminary Luncheon Room 205

Rust College Luncheon

Rooms 207-208


8:00 a.m. Morning Bible Study

Exhibit Hall

9:00 a.m. Morning Business Session

Exhibit Hall

Laity Luncheon

12:15 p.m. Asbury Alumni & Friends Luncheon Christ UMC 2:00 p.m. Business Session

6:30 p.m. Clergy Gather to Robe for Ordination Ballrooms C, D & E 7:00 p.m. Service of Ordination and Commissioning Exhibit Hall

Saturday, June 8, 2019 7:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens

2nd Floor, 211

8:00 a.m. Morning Bible Study

Exhibit Hall

9:00 a.m. Business Session

Exhibit Hall

11:00 a.m. Closing Worship

Exhibit Hall

5:15 p.m. BMCR – Gammon Dinner 7:00 p.m. Mission Service

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Central UMC Exhibit Hall

Exhibit Hall

5:00 p.m. Dinner Break

5:00 p.m. Dinner Break

Ballrooms D & E

Retiree Fellowship and Recognition Banquet Ballrooms A & B

10:00 a.m. Exhibit Booths Close

2:00 p.m. Afternoon Business Session

Exhibit Hall

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break

Duke Divinity Alumni & Friends Luncheon Galloway UMC Emory/Candler Alumni, Students and Friends Luncheon Iron Horse Grill

West Lobby

10:30 a.m. Memorial Service

Thursday, June 6, 2019

7:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Ballrooms C, D & E Exhibit Hall

2nd Floor, 211

7:00 a.m. Associate Members and Local Pastors Breakfast Rooms 207-208

Exhibit Hall

Laity Executive Session

7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

7:00 a.m. Prayer Room Opens

West Lobby

10:00 a.m. Exhibit Booths Open

3:30 p.m. Clergy Executive Session

This is a tentative agenda. Event details are subject to change. Visit the 2019 Session of the Mississippi Conference app (tiny.cc/powerofwe) for the latest updates.

10:45 a.m. Conference Adjournment: Sine Die Exhibit Hall

Jackson Convention Complex Floor Plan JACKSON CONVENTION COMPLEX LEVEL 1



Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 7


AC Biographies

2019 Session Annual Conference Speakers and Worship Leadership REV. DR. CYNTHIA WILSON

Executive Director of Worship Resources at United Methodist Discipleship Ministries Worship/Music Leader

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson supervises and guides staff in developing resources and training events with a primary focus on music, liturgy and preaching. Wilson is an ordained deacon under extension ministry appointment in the Great Plains Annual Conference. Prior to joining the staff of Discipleship Ministries, Wilson served as assistant vicepresident of Student Life and dean of Students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. At Garrett-Evangelical, she launched the Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience, a one-of-a-kind, North American Institute that provides training in the sacred music of the Black Church and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.

Monya Logan

A talented vocalist, Wilson is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Dillard University; a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Rev. Jessica Moffatt


Minister of Worship and the Arts at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas Worship Leader For over 25 years Logan has overseen a talented and dedicated staff, providing leadership to the worship, arts and media team. In great demand

8 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

for her keyboard, conducting and composing skills, she has twice served as chief organist for the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, on the editorial team for the African American Songbook, “Zion Still Sings” and has served as worship leader, clinician and consultant throughout the connection. In addition to her service to The United Methodist Church, Logan is the music director for New Arts Six, a performance ensemble devoted to the preservation of African American music, especially Negro Spirituals. Logan is a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, and the recipient of the Dallas Metroplex Musicians Association 2015 Musician of the Year and Urban League of Greater Dallas Torch Award. She has taught at her alma mater, the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet. Logan attended Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.


Lead Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma Preaching Opening Worship Service June 5, 1:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall Ordination Service June 7, 7:00 p.m., Exhibit Hall Moffatt attended Southern Methodist University and the University of Tulsa, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Upon graduation, Jessica also completed the graduate degree program of the Chateau de Bossey in Geneva, Switzerland where she worked with the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Institute in the area of International Church Relations,

addressing intercultural issues of race, violence and poverty. Her expertise is in the area of local church urban and community ministries. At First United Methodist Church in Tulsa she served 12 years in community ministries, she helped the congregation launch diverse hands-on ministries beyond the walls of the church, deploying more than 1,000 members into the community in more than 30 types of new ministries. She co-authored the book, “Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing the Laity for Ministry.” Moffatt has served on the Oklahoma Annual Conference Board of Church and Society, mission strategy team, annual conference council, board of ordained ministry, new people new places team, commission on the status and role of women and served as chair of the annual conference re-structuring committee. Her daughter, Hannah Birney is married to Will Birney.

leader in higher education. In both roles, Sterk has emphasized the choices and responsibilities of research universities and their real-world impact. She is the author of three books and more than 125 peer-reviewed articles. A native of the Netherlands, Sterk earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Erasmus Universiteit in Rotterdam and a doctorandus degree in medical anthropology from the Universiteit of Utrecht. She completed her undergraduate education at the Vrije Universieit in Amsterdam.

Dr. Claire Sterk


Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University Teaching Morning Bible Study 8:00 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, Exhibit Hall A fifth generation Methodist minister, Marbury holds a Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Divinity from Continued on next page...

Dr. Herbert Marbury


President of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia Speaking at Laity Luncheon Friday, June 7, 12:00 p.m., Ballrooms D & E Sterk has achieved international recognition for her work on addiction and infectious diseases, specifically HIV/AIDS, and for her contributions to our understanding of community engagement and the empowerment of women as responses to complex social and health disparities. An innovative and game-changing higher education leader, Sterk began her role as president on September 1, 2016. Since that time, she has already made significant gains for the university, deepening Emory’s ties with the City of Atlanta and launching a strategic framework that promises to unify the university’s nine schools and colleges under a shared mission of discovery and service for the common good. In 2018, Sterk was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, recognized both for her pioneering public health scholarship and for her distinctive voice as a global thought

Download the 2019 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 tiny.cc/powerofwe or use the QR code to download the app.

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 9


AC Biographies

Gammon Theological Seminary. He spent his undergraduate years at Emory University studying English and African American Studies.

Rev. Dr. Embra Jackson

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.

An ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference, Marbury has taught Hebrew and Biblical Interpretation at American Baptist College and served as a mentor in the Doctor of Ministry Program at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio for the program group “The Black Church and Social and Civic Empowerment.” In 2006, Marbury joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. where he researches and writes on Old Testament, Hebrew, Biblical Hermeneutics and Black Religion. Marbury’s most recent publication, Pillars of Cloud and Fire: The Politics of Exodus in African American Biblical Interpretation (New York University Press, 2015), combines his interests by examining ways that African Americans from the antebellum period to the Black Power era turned to the book of Exodus to navigate paths toward freedom.


Starkville District Superintendent in the Mississippi Conference Preaching Memorial Service Friday, June 7, 10:30 a.m., Exhibit Hall Rev. Dr. Embra Jackson has served as a local pastor, administrative assistant to Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and currently serves as the Starkville District Superintendent. He also served as executive director of the United Methodist Metro Ministers in Jackson; chaplain of Hospice Ministries, Inc. in Ridgeland; instructor at Wood College in Mathiston and as a teacher in Starkville Public Schools. Jackson graduated in 1974, Cum Laude from Tougaloo College in Jackson with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In 1979, he graduated from the University of Mississippi in Oxford with a Master of Public Administration and in 1985 he graduated with a Master of Divinity as an honor graduate from Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Additionally, in 2003 he received a Doctorate of Ministry.

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Jackson possess ecclesiastical endorsement from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry. He is a certified coach in the International Coach Federation and CoachNet and currently a Spiritual Leadership Institute apprentice. Rev. Jackson is married to Rosia Jackson. They have four children and four grandchildren.

BISHOP JAMES E. SWANSON SR. Mississippi Conference Resident Bishop Speaking at Mission Service June 6, 7:00 p.m., Exhibit Hall Preaching Closing Worship June 8, 11:00 a.m., Exhibit Hall Bishop James Edward Swanson Sr. began his tenure in the Mississippi Conference 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 17 grandchildren.

From the Conference Lay Leader

I was so excited when I learned that the theme for annual conference this year is “The POWER that makes us One.” Oneness is the core of our United Methodist Church.

family ministries and provided health benefits and pension to hundreds of clergy and some laity through our Administry office.

We are a connectional body. We are a global body—I am always proud to say that. The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) statistics state that in 2017 we had more than 12 million members in over 40,000 churches. These churches support missionaries in over 130 countries through the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). Through the work of GBGM, we make disciples all over the world. Our churches, together, provide humanitarian relief and disaster response through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to people in more than 80 countries, including the United States. Mississippi has been fortunate to receive frequent UMCOR assistance.

There are too many things to name that we do together—things that I have forgotten, things that you have likely forgotten, but things that changed lives for the recipients of the ministry we provided because we participated in the connectional system to which we belong. Being connectional increases the frequency and reach of our glory sightings. As Bishop Swanson would say, “glo-ry” to the work we do as a connection. “Glo-ry” to the opportunities the connection allows us, opportunities to lead together with an open mind and a wide range of perspectives—black, white, female, male, clergy or laity—as one body.

We are an annual conference of small churches. Statistics from 2016 show that 90 percent of the churches in our annual conference on average have less than 100 people in worship services on Sunday mornings. So, we perhaps understand more than some others, the limited amount of ministry most of our churches can do individually and how much greater and wider reaching our ministry is when we unite in mission. Together, as an annual conference, we have supported the start of new churches through our Faith Communities Formation office; facilitated disaster relief for hundreds—if not thousands—of families impacted by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, etc. through the Connectional Ministries office; provided fellowship and worship opportunities for thousands of youth at events like The Gathering through conference youth and

As a lay person, I am especially grateful that laity have an equal vote to clergy in the decisions that we make as an annual conference. Similarly, laity have great authority and therefore substantial responsibility to make disciples at the local church level where disciple making primarily happens.


Making the Connection: In Mississippi and Across the Globe

LaToya Redd Thompson Mississippi Conference Lay Leader

“Glo-ry” to the opportunities the connection allows us, opportunities to lead together with an open mind and a wide range of

This annual conference session we celebrate the theological basis of the reason that we as a connection are one—the unity of God and Jesus in ministry described in John 17:21. We, as United Methodist Disciples of Christ, join here to prepare for a year of being even better students and followers of Jesus’ biblical model of being one in ministry with God as we move forward together in ministry with each other.

perspectives—black, white, female, male, clergy or laity—as one body.

Photo of LaToya Redd Thompson by Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 11


Mission Focus

Mission Focus 2019:

Mississippi Disaster Recovery By Jasmine Haynes, Communications Specialist

Top photo, this page: Volunteers helping clean up after tornadoes; Photo above: Compassionate people experienced in emotional and spiritual care are vital to long-term disaster recovery.

This year’s annual conference mission offering will go towards Mississippi Disaster Recovery and a tithe of that offering will go to disaster response efforts in Mozambique. From tornadoes to flooding, many areas of Mississippi have taken a brutal beating from weather-related disasters, and the frequency and damage caused by these disasters increases annually. Just this year, there has been a tied tornado count record and major flooding in late February and early May. Flooding has also been a significant challenge outside the United States. Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira, the fourth-largest city in Mozambique, March 14. Over the next week, Idai left a path of destruction in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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According to Mississippi Conference Disaster Recovery project manager, Mellie Thomas, donations help tremendously in the challenge of transforming lives and rebuild the communities of those impacted by catastrophe. Thomas leads the overall operational efforts of recovery and supports local United Methodists to be able to respond and help their disaster-affected communities through trainings, grantwriting and partner relations. In order to paint a holistic picture of what all disaster recovery entails, Thomas answered the following questions: Q How will this mission offering be used to support disaster response here in Mississippi?

Photo left: House damaged by tornado: Photo right: community impacted by flooding; photo below: Volunteer loading disaster relief cleaning buckets.

Photo above: (left to right) Catherine Earl, director of U.S. operations and partner relations of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR); Mellie Thomas, Mississippi Conference Disaster Recovery project manager; Mayor Erick Simmons, mayor of Greenville, Miss. and Dianne Spears, Mississippi Conference disaster case manager.

A It will be used to assist families affected by disaster in their recovery. This can be anything from emergency needs such as medication, food, temporary housing and utilities, to long-term needs such as building materials, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and needed household items that were lost. Q What are the current open disasters cases/locations in Mississippi that need help? A There are 40 families we are aiding that are still recovering in Meridian, Greenville, Hattiesburg and Durant from 2017 and 2018 flooding and tornadoes. There is also 2019 tornado recovery work in Columbus, Hamilton and Morton, and 2019

flood recovery in the southeast—Marion, Lamar, Forrest, Perry, Greene, Wayne, Jones, Covington and Clarke Counties. In the Mississippi Delta, we have cases in Washington, Sunflower, Humphreys, Issaquena, Sharkey, Holmes, Yazoo and Warren Counties. We anticipate over 500 families will need recovery-related assistance.

Just this year, there has been a tied tornado count record and major

Q In addition to giving financial assistance, what are other ways people can help support disaster recovery?

flooding in late February and early May.

A Anyone can join or be a part of this meaningful disaster ministry. When a disaster strikes, we need volunteers for things from answering the phones, to See Mission Focus, page 32 Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 13

Creating a ‘Pipeline of Hope’

Miss. Conference Raises $1 Million for Africa University


Years ago, when Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. first encouraged the Mississippi Conference’s generosity towards United Methodist-related Africa University, he stated, “I am not asking you to give just money; I am asking you to become a pipeline of hope. Join me in this campaign of hope—the Mississippi-Africa University Partnership.” Fast forward to 2019 and that pipeline has generated $1 Million towards the future of students and rising leaders at Africa University. Even in the early stages of the campaign, several Mississippians seems to be confident of a favorable outcome. Back in 2016 at the launch of a church-wide campaign to increase Africa University’s endowment funding, Mississippi campaign honorary co-chair Aubrey Lucas proclaimed, “We will be successful in this campaign for Africa University because the funds are needed to sustain our move toward greater distinction. We will be successful because Africa and the world need the graduates from Africa University and we will be successful because we United Methodists have come to love and be proud of our Africa University.” Lucas said the campaign will provide much-needed scholarships. The annual cost to an undergraduate student attending Africa University is between $5,565 and $5,765. This covers the basics—tuition, housing, meals, medical insurance, student union, registration and technology fees. International

students must also pay the Zimbabwean Immigration Department an additional $200 a year for their study permit. Yet, for many aspiring university students and their families, Africa University’s affordable fees hardly matter. The majority of students come from African countries where the average income is between .46 cents and $2 a day. According to the Africa University Development Office, endowed scholarships are a sustainable response to the endemic financial hardship that results in an inability to pay fees and keeps talented students on the sidelines. The capital contributed by those like the gracious givers of the Mississippi Conference is invested and generates interest income. Africa University uses a portion of that income to provide an annual scholarship award to at least one student. The rest of the income stays in the fund to help it grow. To generate enough support for one student a year in perpetuity, an investment of $130,000 is needed. Mississippi United Methodists have provided leadership and support for Africa University from its beginning by serving on the committee to find a location for the university; by serving on its board of directors; by providing scholarships for students and by erecting on a mountain overlooking the campus the United Methodist emblem of the cross and flame. All photos by Mike DuBose, UMNS

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Mississippi United Methodists have provided leadership and support for Africa University from the beginning...

Ed Jones, Mississippi Africa University supporter; Rev. Rusty Keen, Greenwood District Superintendent; an AU supporter and Delphine Swanson, first lady of the Mississippi Conference sing “Amazing Grace� during the 25th anniversary celebration of AU in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. (right) and James Salley (center) accept a $1,000 gift for Africa University from Mississippian Mabel Middleton (left, foreground) during the 25th anniversary celebration of AU.

Photo above: Dr. Aubrey Lucas, Mississippi Conference-AU Partnership honorary co-chair; photo right: Rev. James Waits, an ordained minister of the Mississippi Conference (right) and Tsitsi Masiyiwa receive honorary doctorate degrees during the 25th anniversary celebration for Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 15


Day of Mission


rom Tupelo to Gulfport faith communities spanning the state engaged in various mission projects for the first conference-wide Day of Mission which took place Saturday, May 4. In all 11 districts, youth groups, Sunday school classes, community choirs and the like worked together to create mission sites and put their faith in action at faith-based entities and other organizations in their surrounding communities.

Even the tiniest of volunteers was ‘Moved to Serve’ at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church as this mission site assembled hygiene kits for Wesley House, a United Methodist Community Center.

Moved to

SERVE mississippi conference 2 0 1 9 D AY O F M I S S I O N

The almost 50 mission sites varied in skill set, supply lists and purpose, so there were opportunities for people of all ages and levels of ability and mobility. The only commonality among those who participated is that they were moved to serve.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 Prayer was a central focus to several sites as some volunteers crocheted prayer shawls, walked a community to pray for their city and others physically worked on building a prayer retreat. Some sites focused their efforts on clean up days with painting, yard work and picking up litter. Others cared for older and disabled adults by running errands, building ramps and doing activities and crafts at nursing homes. Photo above left: Volunteers help with construction of house; photo above right: Mission site volunteer stocks donated books at Edward Street Thrift Store; photo bottom left: Paulding Charge Mission Site decorating bags for Edward Street Food Pantry

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There were community-wide yard sales— one of which will finance an annual mission trip. Some congregations had community cookouts and held pack-a-thons for Feed the Hungry and Rise Against Hunger. Others packed toiletry bags for college students, chemo care kits for cancer patients and comfort bags for persons in hospice. Additionally, a few sites assisted with disaster response supplies and building for Habitat for Humanity.

Mississippi Conference Helps Save 60,000 Lives from Malaria Photo above and INM image courtesy of UMNS

Altogether, the Mississippi Conference has raised money equivalent to saving 60,000 lives since receiving the charge to imagine a world without malaria three years ago. At the 2016 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference, Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. announced the conference would be contributing to Imagine No Malaria, The United Methodist church-wide effort to overcome malaria in Africa and 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. Swanson set the goal for the Mississippi Conference Mission Focus to provide

100,000 mosquito nets for Imagine No Malaria by the 2018 annual conference mission offering. Charity Gordon came on board as the conference INM field coordinator in 2016 to aid the conference in reaching that goal. As field coordinator, Gordon worked daily traveling all over Mississippi speaking and inspiring others to join in the efforts of Imagine No Malaria for a year.

IMAGINE NO M Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

Swanson also enlisted a team of people who could help Gordon spread the IMN message faster and farther. This group was deemed the INM campaign steering committee. Darlene Dotherow, (pictured above) who volunteered to be the chair of the committee, explained why she felt led to spearhead this team.


“For the Mississippi Conference to have raised $600,000 is amazing. I know our goal was $1 million; however, we had tornadoes, floods—you name it—to hit different areas of our state during our Imagine No Malaria Mission Focus,” said Gordon. “Some of our mission dollars were called elsewhere. So to give what we did, shows the generosity of our conference.”

“As a physician, I understood the many ramifications of malaria. As a nonpracticing physician, I had time and energy. As a mom, I listened to the See Malaria, page 36

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 17


| | |Widening the ReacH | | | to an Ever-changing Mission Field

By Nan Bryant Development and Public Relations The Hour “The Hour is older than I am!” said Anthony Thaxton, the producer who has shaped The Hour’s look and message since 2007. “I was born in 1972, and at that point, John McCay had already been broadcasting on radio for a year with The United Methodist Hour.” This summer Thaxton will celebrate 600 episodes as producer of The Hour. Nearly 12 years after being hired, Thaxton has seen a lot of changes in the long-running television program which strives to bring good news and encouragement to a statewide audience and beyond. “We’ve changed and reduced staff to be more efficient,” said Thaxton. “We continue to strive to reach our television viewers in fresh and interesting ways.”

The Hour Family: (Left to Right) Anthony Thaxton, producer; Amy Thaxton, program manager; Nan Bryant, outreach and public relations; LaToya Redd-Thompson, “Your Ministry Matters” segment contributor; Marcus Thompson, board chair and Rev. Steve Casteel, executive director and host.

The Hour is not just a Methodist program. In fact, much of the viewers span many denominations. Thaxton recalls Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.’s being on the program after his arrival in Mississippi. “Later on the coast, two ladies raved to the bishop about the show. The bishop asked what church they attended and was surprised to find they were Catholics,” said Thaxton. “We have so many viewers who are not in our churches. We are truly an ecumenical connection through media to a hurting world. It’s not something we take lightly.” Photos courtesy of The Hour

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Thaxton paints on each program in a segment called “Drawn to Christ.” His watercolors draw new viewers in an exciting way. Thaxton was joined by Rev. Steve Casteel—who has been the host and executive director since 2009—and the two make a great team. “We have great fun putting the program together,” said Casteel. “It sounds cliché, but Anthony, LaToya, Tom, Amy and Nan—we really are a family.” That chemistry factors into the viewership which, according to available ratings, averages over 20,000 households viewing every week. See The Hour, page 37

The Thaxton Studios Team: (left to right) Bryant Thaxton, videographer; Amy Thaxton, program manager; Anthony Thaxton, producer; Sydney Thaxton, videographer

Photo at top, this page: Anthony Thaxton filming Keith Tonkel in 2012. Photo at bottom, this page: Rev. Steve Casteel and Anthony Thaxton filming Billy Graham’s funeral (only 2,000 guests were invited, The Hour was invited to cover the funeral). Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 19

» 2019

Mission Focus

» Decision 1379 reviewed amended legislation

allowing a ‘gracious exit’ — the process now referred to as disaffiliation—to

leave the denomination.


GC 2019’s Impact on Local Churches By Jasmine Haynes, Communications Specialist

t their April 2019 meeting, the Judicial Council reviewed actions taken by the special General Conference pertaining to the Traditional Plan and disaffiliation. The council serves as The United Methodist Church’s Supreme Court and received a request by General Conference delegates to rule on “the constitutionality, mean application and effect” of the Traditional Plan. Additionally, the Council of Bishops requested a decision on the constitutionality of the disaffiliation plan.

Top photo, this page: Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey observes the results from a February 26 vote for the Traditional Plan, which affirms the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. The vote came on the last day of the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS. 20 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

What does that mean for local churches in Mississippi? Decision 1379 reviewed amended legislation allowing a ‘gracious exit’—the process now referred to as disaffiliation—to leave the denomination. Previous versions of the petition were ruled unconstitutional, but the amended version specifies a “limited right” to disaffiliate for reasons related to church law on homosexuality. Requests from churches that want to leave the denomination must meet three minimum requirements: • The disaffiliation resolution must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the professing members of the local

» This legislation went

into effect immediately in the U.S. after the close of the April 2019 Judicial Council meeting, and will go into effect on January 1, 2021... Top photo, this page: Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.(center) and the 2019 Mississippi Conference Delegation to General Conference; photo at right: Bishops confer over the issue of whether the legislative committee can refer items to the denomination’s Judicial Council for review during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Clockwise from lower left are Bishops Thomas Bickerton, John Schol, David Bard, Julius C. Trimble and Cynthia Fierro Harvey. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

church present and voting at the church conference. • The conference board of trustees establishes the terms and conditions, including the effective date, of the agreement between the annual conference and the exiting local church in accordance with applicable church law and civil laws. • The disaffiliation agreement must be ratified by a simple majority of the members of the annual conference present and voting.

This legislation went into effect immediately in the U.S. after the close of the April 2019 Judicial Council meeting, and will go into effect on January 1, 2021, outside the U.S. The existence of the trust clause was affirmed in the disaffiliation agreement. However, the agreement effectively suspends the denomination’s centuriesold trust clause only for those seeking disaffiliation under paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline as amended, and only until December 31, 2023. According to David Stotts—conference treasurer, director of finance and

« administration and benefits officer—at this year’s annual conference session, lay and clergy members will vote on affirming the disaffiliation of each individual church of the seven churches in the Mississippi Conference that meet the requirements of the new disaffiliation process.

“This process was established by the annual conference trustees which is in accordance with the new paragraph 2553 in The 2016 Book of Discipline,” explained Stotts. “This was passed at the 2019 Called Session of

See Impact, page 40

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 21


Points of Interest

Explore the City with Soul

Mississippi Old Capitol and State Museum (big photo, this page), Aerial shot of Downtown Jackson (bottom left), Mississippi State Capitol (bottom right), Fondren Corner (top center, facing page), Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/ King Edward Apartments (top right, facing page).

22 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Photos courtesy of Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.


elcome to Jackson! During your time at the 2019 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.; www.estellejackson.com

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.parlormarket.com Big Apple Inn is open until 9:00 p.m.; 509 N. Farish St. 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; www.wasabijacksonms.com Elite Restaurant is open until 9:00 p.m.; 141 E. Capitol St.; http://bit.ly/2relite

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.; www.theironhorsegrill.com

Need more options? Discover the best local places to eat in Jackson and enjoy special perks during your visit. Check out www.eatjackson.com.

Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues opens at 4:30 p.m. through 3:00 a.m.; 538 N. Farish St.; www.johnnytsbistroandblues.com

Points of Interests (POIs)

King Edward Grille is open until 9:30 p.m.; 235 W. Capitol St.; http://bit.ly/2vNXbew Hal & Mal’s is open until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Thursday and open until 10:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday; www.halandmals.com Mayflower Café is open until 10:00 p.m.; 123 W. Capitol St.; www.mayflowercafems.com McAlister’s Deli is open until 6:00 p.m. Wednesday - Friday; 220 E. Amite St.; http://bit.ly/2HtniJ6 Stamps Super Burger is open until 8:00 p.m.; 1801 Dalton St.; http://bit.ly/stampsburger

Mississippi Old Capitol & State Museum www.mdah.ms.gov/oldcap/ Mississippi State Capitol http://bit.ly/2JlvVtI Fondren Corner http://bit.ly/2Yu3RrF Hilton Garden Inn Downtown/ King Edward Apartments http://bit.ly/30vE7x8 Mississippi State Capitol http://bit.ly/2JlvVtI Visit Jackson! www.visitjackson.com/ Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 23

The founders of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society: Seated, left to right: Maria Taylor Rich, Lois Lee Parker, Clementina Row Butler, Eliza Tucker Flanders. Standing, left to right: Frances Henshaw Kingsbury, Mary Dyer Merrill. Not present in the photo: Mary Phillips Stoddard and Rebecca Spear Taylor. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Women Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign.


Celebrating 150 Years in Mission By Tara Barnes Editor of United Methodist Women’s The Response

United Methodist Women circles from across the state jointly raised $9,825 as of February 28, 2019 according to the latest Legacy Fund Report. Mississippi Conference UMW president Dorothy Carter expressed her excitement over the news. “It is great that we have raised that much, but we still have a long way to go so, we the Mississippi Conference UMW need to keep donating,” shared Carter. Across the connection, over $26 million has been collected and pledged in planned gifts thus far for the 150 Legacy Fund. Dorothy Carter, Mississippi Conference United Methodist Women President

United Methodist Women continues to build upon the foundation set forth by its

24 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

founders almost 150 years ago. Yet the difficulties encountered by women, children and youth around the world continue to sustain separation from life-affirming compassionate care and support that heals, restores and empowers. In 2014, the board of directors launched the Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign, setting a goal to raise $60 million. United Methodist Women have until December 31, 2019 to continue to give toward the legacy fund. The Legacy Fund Endowment Campaign is both historic and unprecedented. UMW is celebrating the legacy of the courageous women who founded this mission movement, as well as the legacy that today’s members will leave for future generations of United Methodist

Speaking on United Methodist Women’s founding, she described a visit in March 1869 between Edwin and Lois Parker, missionaries in India who had returned on furlough to Boston, and William and Clementina Butler, founders of Methodism in India. Photos courtesy of UMW

Women, to create their legacy to carry the mission of faith, hope, love in action forward in the world for years to come.

Remembering Roots The Legacy Fund is not the only way that United Methodist Women around the globe are celebrating this 150-year milestone. On March 23, 1869, eight women gathered at Tremont Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston and founded the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. On the same date in 2019, Methodist women marked the 150th anniversary of this organization, now known as United Methodist Women, with a celebration at Boston University hosted by the New England Conference United Methodist Women. Boston University and its theological school has historic ties to the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. Dana Robert, professor and director of Boston School of Theology’s Center for Global Christianity and Mission, explained ties between the school and the women’s society during her presentation on United Methodist Women’s founders and New England Methodism.

“As the missionary couples chatted with women at the Tremont Street Methodist Episcopal Church, the oppression of women in India was on everyone’s minds,” she said. “Couldn’t women do something for their sisters in another part of the world? From these beginnings emerged the most powerful, influential women’s movement in what was then the largest protestant church in the United States. The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society sent its own

missionaries, bought its own property, published its own periodicals, sponsored indigenous Bible women around the world, mobilized church women into a worldwide movement and incubated women’s leadership by producing a core group of the first laywomen elected to General Conference in 1888.” She ended with a quote from Bishop William Taylor: “When I find a field too hard for a man, I put in a woman.”

A Legacy to be Treasured The March 23 celebration began with a welcome breakfast in the theology school community room and an invitation by Dean See 150 Years, page 38

At the 150th anniversary celebration of United Methodist Women hosted by the New England Conference United Methodist Women at Boston University, March 23, 2019. Photo by Erin Clark.

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 25

Among the 250 participants at the Emory Conference Center were United Methodists from 16 countries and representatives from at least 21 other Methodistrelated communions.

Bicentennial of Methodist Mission By Christie R. House, Senior Writer/Editor for Global Ministries And Dr. David Scott, Mission Theology Director for Global Ministries

During April 8-10, Global Ministries

at least 21 other Methodist-related

commemorated the bicentennial of

communions. Participants included

its founding in 1819 with a conference

deans, professors, current missionar-

entitled “Answering the Call: Hearing

ies, students, mission volunteers, staff

God’s Voice in Mission Past, Present

from general agencies, bishops, laity

and Future.” The bicentennial con-

and clergy.

ference was jointly sponsored with Candler School of Theology.

Throughout the conference, connections were made, deep listening took

Among the 250 participants at the

place and Christian leaders of the East

Emory Conference Center in Atlanta

and South provided witness to the

were United Methodists from 16

effects of colonialism and racism in

countries and representatives from

their local contexts.

Photo top left: Bishop Hee Soo Jung, president of Global Ministries’ board of directors. Photo left: Kanichi Miyama, a Japanese immigrant to the US in the 19th century, converted to Methodism then founded Japanese-American Methodism in both California and Hawaii. Photos courtesy of Christie R. House. 26 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Bishop Hee Soo Jung, president of Global Ministries’ board of directors, acknowledged the change represented in this post-colonial gathering. “We now see a paradigm shift to transformative partnerships, empowering and life-giving connections,” he said.

Forever Beginning

The Missionary Society was founded by white Methodist leaders in New York City, who were inspired by the work of John Stewart, a lay Methodist of mixed African-American, Native-American and white heritage, who undertook on his own initiative to conduct evangelistic mission among the Wyandot (or Wyandotte) Native Americans of Ohio.

The bicentennial of Methodist mission commemorates the April 5, 1819, founding of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the first denomination-wide mission society in the American tradition of Methodism. The Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church is also the earliest forerunner of today’s General Board of Global Ministries. The Missionary Society was founded by white Methodist leaders in New York City, who were inspired by the work of John Stewart, a lay Methodist of mixed African-American, Native-American and white heritage, who undertook on his own initiative to conduct evangelistic mission among the Wyandot (or Wyandotte) Native Americans of Ohio. Stewart, working with African-American translator Jonathan Pointer and native converts such as Chief Betweenthe-Logs, produced a significant movement of Wyandot who converted to Methodism. It was the first time any native group had chosen to become Methodist in significant numbers, and it gave Methodist leaders hope that Methodism might have something to offer other groups See Bicentennial, page 33 Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 27

‘Hungry’ for God:

DINNER CHURCH A Fresh Expression of Faith Communities

By Jason Zebert Project Coordinator/Office Administrator for Faith Community Formation


hat do spaghetti and marshmallows have to do with church? Plenty, when you start to explore Fresh Expressions and Dinner Church. Fresh Expressions are “a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church,” according to Fresh Expressions US. It’s church in context. In Christianity, the people are the church. The followers of Christ are the hands, feet and ambassadors of Jesus wherever they go. Fresh Expressions occur when someone with a passion for Jesus transports that passion into other parts of their lives. That person is identified as a ‘pioneer.’ Pioneers bring Jesus into the groups of people they ‘do life’ with (i.e. hunters, fishers, dog lovers, burrito eaters, sewing circles, etc.) on a regular basis. It’s Kingdom thinking at its best! People who have never—and may never—enter a church building, can start to see the wonder of Jesus by how His followers act, react, do and think in everyday life. It is about building relationships with Jesus and others.

The pioneer talks to his or her pastor about what God has laid on their heart—to reach out to the people in their circle. The pioneer and pastor build a team, who are referred to as ‘supporters’ and then, step out and start. Fresh Expressions can happen anywhere—hair salons, dog parks, Moe’s Burritos and tattoo parlors—and at any time. Sometimes they progress to forming a church and sometimes they don’t—but they always have an impact. Fresh Expressions are very John Wesley. Wesley’s development of small groups provided a framework to help people grow in ‘holiness of heart and life.’ Very much like Fresh Expressions today, people in 18th century England, met together—in small and large groups—to grow in love, holiness and purity, through education, preaching and singing. It’s about applying Jesus and Scripture to everyday life. Do you live what you believe and does it make a difference in the way you live life? Dinner church is one element of the Fresh Expression movement. Based on the model and practices of the first century church, when the poor and strangers were invited

28 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

to share food and fellowship in the homes of Jesus’ followers, believers and nonbelievers met to eat together. Attendees share the Gospel—or one of Jesus’ parables, faith and love with the least, the last and the lost. Oh yeah, about the spaghetti and marshmallows. That is actually a fun team building project where the participants try to build the tallest free standing structure using dry spaghetti, a marshmallow and tape. It shows what can happen when you are working on a common goal—bringing people to Jesus, building a team—connecting in ministry with others, exchanging ideas with others—making and being disciples and leaders and thinking outside the box—being led in faith by the Holy Spirit.

Want to know more? Go to www.mississippiumc.org/faithcommunities or contact Jason Zebert at jzebert@mississippi-umc. org and 769.243.7073 or Jane Horstman at jhorstman@mississippi-umc.org and 769.243.7072.

All photos, this page: istock.com

“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


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: Ordained Elders Eugene Bramlett, Jr. Nathan Reed Phillips Charles Andrew Collette Michael-John Pope Michael D. Evans Anzette Smith Thomas Haywood Isaac Hannah Jeffrey Paul Walton Recognize Orders from Other Denomination Kelvin Dwayne Mayo

Ordained Deacons Sandra Glenn Brown Kristina Gail Crabtree Katherine Helen Butler Laura Michelle Galambos

Commissioning as Deacon and Elder Connor Joseph Bell Leslie Haven Boyd Lydia Cummings Dailey Jane Elizabeth Feisel Hannah Holland Hutchinson

Nathan Douglas Hutchinson Jenna Ann Johnson Randy Jarrell Jones Kevin Michael Kosh, Jr. Michael Thomas Lindsay Jill Shannon Shaw Hannah Lynn Shempert Linda Little Malone Associate Membership Timothy Alan Atwood Melissa Ruth Crawford Richard Dwayne Scoggins

Celebrating Retirees 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 20, 2019.

Elders in Full Connection Marjorie Murry Buckley Dorothy Clare Biedenharn Davis Roy Carothers, Jr. Sheblon Andre Cotton Johnny Marvin Kramer William Harold Manning James Lauren Porter

Billy Ray Stonestreet Edwin Marshall Temple Ricky Williams James Daniel Young Charles Edwin Waddell Stephen Anderson Lampkin Jack Wesley Marshall Tommy Earl Stephenson

Deacon in Full Connection Thomas Emory Miller Associate Members Larry Darnell Bolton Elijah Mitchell Local Pastors Anne Clayton-Owens Larry Dollar Maureen Elva Fields

Shandoya Gray David Robert Greene Milton Glenn Koon Charles Ray Luke Charles Ennis Pope, Jr. Robert Payne Scott, Sr. Kerry Johnson Deaconess Earnestine Varnado

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 29

? What if there could

be a generation of

college students from The United Methodist Church that was debt free?


The Impact of Endowments By Melissa Blakely Office/Communications Manager, Mississippi United Methodist Foundation What is a legacy? Usually, a legacy is defined by what someone leaves behind. What if a legacy could be defined by the present instead of just the past? What if everyone could begin to define in their college years what their legacy could be? Many students carry unbearable debt that defines their dreams. Debt becomes not only their legacy, but also their children’s inheritance. One of the most alarming statistics across denominational lines is that the Millennials and Generation Z have a tendency to leave the church by the time they reach college. How can this trend be reversed? Perhaps, it is simple encouragement. Letting students know that they are loved and remembered. A concrete way is to provide scholarships. Easing a financial burden is essential to the vitality of students. Relief from looming debt is one of the greatest gifts someone can give a student. Financial freedom allows students to dream.

What if there could be a generation of college students from The United Methodist Church that was debt free? What if the church made generosity a priority? A gift could open doors to the impossible and pave a way to a new legacy for this generation and the next. There is hope that this future could exist and the Church can help. Scholarship endowments provide a legacy of support that reaches beyond a single lifetime. According to the Mississippi United

Photo top left, this page: Raylin Parrish, college recipient; middle photo left, this page: Mary Strickland, seminary recipient; bottom photo left, this page: A’mon Haynes, college recipient; photo top center, this page: Emily Lambert, college recipient; photo top right, facing page: Zachary Turba, college recipient 30 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Methodist Foundation, an endowment is a permanent fund invested to produce income for a particular cause forever. Endowments are easy to create. Gifts can be made today to existing permanent scholarship endowments. Individuals, groups or churches can rally together to create a new one. Funding can occur during one’s lifetime, or as a directed by will upon death. In the Mississippi Conference, over 800 college students and 150 seminary students have received scholarships since 1970. How many more lives could we change with your help?

One of our recipients, Alice Roberson, wrote: “Thank you for your generosity in providing a scholarship for me. This scholarship means so much to me. It helps me with my tuition, housing, books and travel expense. I thank God for you, because even though you know nothing about me, you are helping me to achieve my dreams and goals. With my theological enrichment, I will be better equipped to serve. Thank you for all the good that you do, not only for me but for others who also need your help. I too look forward to giving future generation’s scholarship assistance. May God continue to bless you.” For more information on resources and information about endowments and legacy contributions, contact the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation at www.ms-umf.org or call 601.948.8845. Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 31

MISSION FOCUS page 13 organizing donations, drivers to pick up and deliver supplies, cooking meals, community assessments and more. Our Early Response Teams (ERTs) are specially trained teams that offer assistance soon after the disaster strikes. They generally do clean-up work and tasks required to stop further damage from being done, e.g. putting tarps on damaged roofs and removing damaged sheet rock and the flooded contents of a home.

Our Early Response Teams (ERTs) are specially trained teams that offer assistance soon after the disaster strikes.

We Want to Hear from You! T

ell us about your conference experience by completing this brief survey. Your feedback helps us continue to serve you with excellence as we develop and plan future conferences.


32 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

When we transition to long-term recovery we need skilled work teams for repair work, compassionate people to meet with survivors as disaster case managers, those experienced in emotional and spiritual care, those who can help with volunteer hospitality needs, construction assessors, volunteer coordinators and more. When disaster case managers are working closely with survivors to make their recovery plan, there are many times we need specialized/professional services such as helping clear titles/deeds and financial counselors. Connecting Neighbors is the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) curriculum that gives faith communities the tools and information they need to guide the development of their disaster-response ministries. Congregations that invest their time in Connecting Neighbors training are better prepared for what emergencies may come, better able to draw on local resources more quickly in the wake of a disaster and more confident that United Methodists will be a resource for community recovery.

Find out more about disaster response ministry here in Mississippi and across the connection by visiting the conference website at www. mississippi-umc.org/disasterresponse or opt in to receive disaster response updates via email by going to https://mississippi-email.brtapp.com/ subscribe.

BICENTENNIAL page 27 beyond the borders of the developing American nation state. While the founding of the Missionary Society makes a convenient point from which to measure Methodist mission history, designating a precise beginning to Methodist mission is difficult to do. Methodism has in many ways been a missionary movement since its very beginning. John and Charles Wesley had their own time as overseas missionaries in the Georgia colony 84 years prior to the founding of the Missionary Society. The first Methodist mission work outside of the British Isles began in 1759 in Antigua. The first preachers appointed by Wesley to the American colonies were Richard Boardman and Joseph Pillmore, sent in 1769, 50 years prior to the Missionary Society. John Stewart himself started his work in 1816, three years before the Missionary Society. Nowadays, Global Ministries speaks of missionaries going “from everywhere to everywhere.” Certainly, the corps of missionaries is increasingly international compared to previous decades. Yet, if one looks in the right places, one discovers that mission has always been “from everywhere to everywhere.” Examples abound of people like Kanichi Miyama, a Japanese immigrant to the U.S. in the 19th century, who converted to Methodism in San Francisco, founded Japanese-American Methodism in both California and Hawaii, and eventually returned to Japan as a missionary. The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC), Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS), Methodist Protestant Church, Evangelical Association and United Brethren in Christ—all predecessors of today’s United Methodist Church—would found a variety of mission agencies over the course of the 19th century, which conducted a variety of domestic and foreign work. Of particular note were women’s mission societies. The first denomination-wide women’s mission society in Methodism was the MEC Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS), founded on March 23, 1869, 50 years after the Missionary Society. Thus, today’s United Methodist Women, heirs of the WFMS, are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year.

Arun Jones lecturing at the bicentennial of Global Mission

Moving Forward Workshop sessions throughout the conference focused on mission topics such as violence and peace; race, class and culture; women in mission; historic moments and current missionary thought. Several sessions considered migration in relationship to mission and migrants both as mission receivers and church planters. In another plenary, Bishop Mande Muyombo of the North Katanga Episcopal Area spoke about mission and peacemaking. “For North Katanga, God’s mission emerged as a tool for peacemaking—conflict is transformed to an open dialogue, making space for negotiations,” he said. “The church, through its mission, has become the center of hope, development and national peacebuilding.” Throughout the various plenaries, panel discussions and one-on-one conversations in the hallways, participants discovered how mission has been turned upside down many times in 200 years of practice. The world has changed a great deal in the last hundred years, and the church has changed as well. It is perhaps easier now to recognize that the Holy Spirit is at work in places that were overlooked a century ago. The great growth of Methodism in Africa over the past century is perhaps the most striking example. Looking back over the past 200 years of Methodist mission demonstrates how God has led Methodists to do great things in mission before and the ways in which God is leading the church on to perfection as it seeks to do mission in ever better and more faithful ways. Thus, looking back inspires, informs and impels the church forward into the next centuries of Methodist mission.

...God is leading the church on to perfection as it seeks to do mission in ever better and more faithful ways. Thus, looking back inspires, informs and impels the church forward into the next centuries of Methodist mission.

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 33

34 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 35

MALARIA page 17 stories and statistics, and my heart was broken,” shared Dotherow. “So, as a follower of Christ, I accepted the call.”

feeds at night—which is why bed nets are an effective prevention tool. When an infected mosquito

Malaria is caused by a parasite, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of the female mosquito. This mosquito flies and

bites a person, the parasite enters the bloodstream and

heads for the liver, where it Charity Gordon, multiplies. It then re-enters conference IMN field the bloodstream, attacking red coordinator blood cells. Typically, someone with malaria experiences a Greg Campbell Photography, Inc. high fever, chills, joint pain and headaches. Left untreated, symptoms The funds cover the cost for prevention eventually advance to organ failure. Nearly (bed nets), education, communication and 90 percent of malaria’s victims are children treatment. under the age of 5 and pregnant women.

The Church’s Impact on Malaria The United Methodist Church goal to raise $75 million to eradicate malaria in places like Sub-Saharan Africa started in 2008.

Photo courtesy of UMNS

Thank You

Rev. Ella Dedeaux

for your encouragement and support! God Bless You!

Pat Oakes, Candidate for Licensed Local Pastor

Congratulations Rev. Jill Shaw Provisional Deacon

 From your church family – First UMC New Albany 36 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Impact Overview Global malaria statistics and trends: • When INM began, a child in Africa died from malaria every 30 seconds… then 45 seconds… then 1 minute. One child still dies every two minutes but the progress is reason for hope and celebration. • Global malaria mortality rates have fallen by an estimated 60 percent since The United Methodist Church began this effort • 395,000 deaths from malaria still occur yearly in Africa

INM’s Impact on the Church Even though global connectional giving has a long list of victories in the battle against malaria, Gordon shared that the campaign benefited the givers of the Mississippi Conference as well. “One of the best things that came out of this campaign was that it gave the children and youth an opportunity to lead their church,” said Gordon. “So many of our children understood that they could raise a little money, and those dollars would save the lives of children just like them that live half-way around the world. They understood that truth so easily and just ran with it.”

THE HOUR page 18 “Some stations don’t do ratings,” explained Thaxton. “But even with the incomplete numbers, we are basically the largest ‘congregation’ in the state. It makes what we do so important.” Many wondered what the future would hold with the death of much-loved lesson teacher, Keith Tonkel, a couple of years ago. “The loss was a huge blow to the team,” shared Casteel. “We loved Keith like all of our viewers did, but we have continued the lesson time—even expanded it—in Keith’s honor.”

“It’s an amazing heritage. We are all honored to continue this vital ministry. We reach those in hospitals, prisons, retirement homes and living rooms. We were invited to cover Billy Graham’s funeral. Weekly we get to make an offering of our artistic gifts, our musical talents and our very lives to this ministry. I cannot state strongly enough what an honor it is. As our tagline says, it truly is ‘Time That Makes The Difference.’ – Anthony Thaxton Producer of The Hour The team at The Hour asks for your continued prayer and support. Only 10 percent of The Hour’s budget comes from conference mission shares. Ninety percent comes from viewers and patrons. Prayerfully consider contributing to ensure the long-term impact of this ministry by visiting thehour.org.

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 37

Thank You

150 YEARS page 25

Rev. Dr. Larry Hilliard

for your encouragement and support! God Bless You!

Pat Oakes, Candidate for Licensed Local Pastor

EMCC Wesley Foundation needs your support! 


Harriet Olson, United Methodist Women General Secretary

Mary Elizabeth Moore to tour Marsh Chapel and the school’s library, where now hangs stained-glass windows from Tremont Street Church dedicated to the founders of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society. “United Methodist Women’s history is a legacy to be treasured,” Moore said. “The founding women were not asked to change the world—they, because of their deep faith commitments—chose to change the world.” Throughout the celebration, speakers echoed that the key to the success and longevity of United Methodist Women is that they raised their own funds. “We’re looking today to the founding in 1869 of the WFMS. Why are we only looking back 150 years and not 200 years to the women who founded the women’s auxiliary in 1819? Simply put, it’s because the women in 1869 became independent,” Robert said. “They didn’t just submit funds to a male-run missionary organization. They did their own thing.” Two skits were performed, telling the stories of Woman’s Foreign Missionary founders Clementina Butler and Lois Parker and of Isabella Thoburn and Dr. Clara Swain, the society’s first two missionaries.

38 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

“What a wonderful background our history provides for talking about the future of United Methodist Women,” said United Methodist Women General Secretary and CEO Harriett Jane Olson, who spoke of the future of the organization. “The history is a foundation. It shapes us but the future of United Methodist Women is what we make it. The gift of Jesus Christ to the world is what impels us into this work. The women who gathered at Tremont Street didn’t have a road map. They had a network of connections. They were profoundly trusting that God would provide, and so are we.”

Mississippi Conference UMW Mission u planning meeting including a few nomination committee members gathered at the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation office February 2, 2019.

Celebrating Here at Annual Conference

during the session of annual conference Wednesday, June 5 at the JCC at noon in Ballrooms D and E. True to UMW’s calling, Carter envisions that the celebration will be an event grounded in faith in action.

The Mississippi Conference will continue the celebration of UMW’s 150th Anniversary at the UMW Luncheon

“We have a fantastic speaker, Clara Estes, from national office. I am hoping that we will be inspired by Clara with some of her

successes during her time working with United Methodist Women,” said Carter. “Also, I hope she’ll help us to understand the importance of continuing mission in United Methodist Women and maybe give us some tips on how to encourage our younger women to come on board and join us.”

Summer 2019 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal 39

IMPACT page 21 David Stotts, treasurer, director of finance and administration and benefits officer for the Mississippi Conference

General Conference. The Judicial Council ruled this prevision constitutional at their April 2019 meeting.”

Additional Impact of Judicial Council Ruling Decision 1378 reaffirmed the court’s previous ruling that seven petitions in the Traditional Plan are unconstitutional and therefore, null and void. However, petitions were upheld from the plan that expanded the definition of “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” mandated penalties for clergy convicted of performing same-sex wedding ceremonies and allows churches to appeal errors of law from trial court findings to the Judicial Council to name a few.

2019 Special Session General Conference


To view the Judicial Council decisions in their entirety in addition to viewing all things that happened before, during and after

40 The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal Summer 2019

Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.

General Conference 2019, visit www.mississippi-umc.org/ gc2019. The General Conference meets every four years and will meet again for their regularly scheduled gathering May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years.

Profile for Cindy Clark

2019 Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal (June 5,2019)  

2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal -- Summer 2019

2019 Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal (June 5,2019)  

2019 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference The Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal -- Summer 2019