The Circuit Rider May 2022

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Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church

TheCircuitRider Monthly Newsletter

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

This month we pause to recognize the historical and cultural contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made in our churches, communities and nation. As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, may we know better about Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and build the nation under God who calls us to unite in diversity. To find resources for recognizing Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in your church, click here.

Churches Host Innovative Vacation Bible School


Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant


For three days, the staff at Central United Methodist Church in Meridian brings the times of the Bible to life for its VBS participants. [Read More]

New UMM Branding and Resources page 2 | Prepare for Hurricane Season page 2 | Place Ads in Souvenir Journal page 3 | USM Wesley Racial Healing Circle page 3 | Peace with Justice Sunday page 4

Publication Note: The next publication of The Circuit Rider will be the print edition of the award-winning Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal that will be available during the 2022 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference in July.

May 2022

Last month we invited you to celebrate with us what it means to #BeUMC here in Mississippi and to look forward to seeing stories and posts sharing our core values and their alignment with our United Methodist Connection. Within the focus of Mississippi’s core value of generosity and the #BeUMC values of influence, connection and impact, this month’s #BeUMC feature spotlights how here in Mississippi, we are ‘Missional People of God.’ Rev. Haven Boyd, associate pastor at Laurel First United Methodist Church in Laurel, reflects on how generosity can be channeled to influence, connect and impact families and communities. Click here to read why she continues to #BeUMC.

Vacation Bible school, VBS, is a long-time summer staple. Young people take part in fun activities such as hearing stories from the Bible, designing arts and crafts and eating delicious foods and snacks. Churches are developing new ideas for VBS to enhance the experience Central United Methodist Church’s Marketplace VBS. for students and keep VBS fresh, fun and engaging for young Christians.

Connection News Methodist Foundation of Mississippi Extends Generosity with Scholarships The Methodist Foundation of Mississippi is excited to announce that because of the generosity of individuals and churches partnering with the foundation, it awarded 144 Mississippi United Methodist students over $150,000 for undergraduate/graduate scholarships and $34,000 to eight seminary students within the Mississippi Annual Conference this year! These recipients represent membership from over 80 local churches and Wesley Foundations throughout the state. Click here, if your church or organization is interested in creating a scholarship. The foundation would love to partner with you.

UMM Announces New Resources and Brand The General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) is introducing a “modern way” of doing men’s ministry. Greg Arnold, general secretary & CEO, said we are approaching men’s and scouting ministry with a much larger and more modern vision. The commission has reimaged how men’s and scouting ministry can be effectively offered, packaged and distributed to the church and world around us. Read more, here.

Communications Learning Week Resources United Methodist Communications, UMCom, hosted Communications Learning Week May 9-13. During the week, church leaders and communicators were given access to training from UMCom professionals, and access to a vast library of on-demand resources including recorded videos, tutorials, podcast episodes and live webinars curated by the UMCom training team. Two of the resources offered by the training team were free shareable social graphics, found here, and available year-round and access to free Canva Pro accounts for nonprofits, found here. Canva Pro allows users to create high-impact social media graphics and marketing materials.

UMCOR Providing Relief to Suffering Ukrainians As part of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission and humanitarian assistance agency of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, provides relief and recovery response throughout the world. UMCOR is extensively engaged in services for Ukrainian refugees both inside their country and beyond in the wake of the Russian invasion of late February 2022. Nearly $1 million of essential medical supplies and equipment has been sent to Ukraine thanks to a joint effort between UMCOR, the Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation and Ohio Health. Read more, here.

Disaster Preparedness for Approaching Hurricane Season Hurricane season begins June 1. The destruction and tragedy these storms cause is well known. The United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, encourages churches and individuals to begin preparations as quickly as possible so that following tragedy healing can begin. For information on preparing for hurricane season, click here. For recommendations on the best way for churches to connect with members after tragedy, click here. To learn more about UMCOR and the disaster assistance they provide in the wake of disaster, click here.

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Mississippi Conference News Place Ads in the Souvenir Journal Advertising opportunities are available for the award-winning Circuit Rider Souvenir Journal. This publication serves as a go-to guide for the 2022 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference. More than 2,000 people from around the state attend annual conference annually and share the publication with local churches giving ads a potential reach of approximately 180,000 Mississippi United Methodists. Click here to purchase ads and see design information. Email Matthew Johnson at with any questions.

Sabbath Day Away Continuing in their mission to make clergy wellness a priority, the office of spiritual leadership is hosting the second Sabbath Day Away June 17, 2022, at Seashore Assembly. The event gives clergy space to stop, reflect, rest and revive. The cost is $20 which covers small group time and lunch. Half a CEU is available for those who participate. Clergy interested in participating can click here to register.

Annual Conference Laity Session and Luncheon The 2022 Laity Executive Session will be held online via Zoom Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m. Laity will be given updates about important programs and actions going on in the Mississippi Annual Conference and our general church. Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. will offer words during his last time with us. For more information on the laity session, click here. The Laity Luncheon is Thursday, July 14 and will feature a panel discussion between clergy and lay. Click here, for more information on the Laity Luncheon.

Conference Treasurer’s Notes As United Methodists, we are called to both service and accountability. In this month’s notes you’ll find reminders pertaining to moving clergy payroll, retiring clergy benefits, facilitating a local church audit and envision generosity in mission through the local church budget. Cyber security and annual conference session per diem are relevant topics at this time of the year as well. Conference treasurer, David Stotts shares information on all these topics, congregations departing the Mississippi Conference and more. Click here to read his notes.

End Racism for Good Update Rev. Bruce Case conducted a Racial Healing Circle at the Wesley Foundation on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Racial Healing Circles create a confidential space of hospitality where participants can think deeply and speak freely about their experiences, practice Holy Listening and learn how to recognize all members of our sacred community. The next End Racism for Good event will be a black maternal health Zoom webinar on May 19 beginning at 1 p.m. Click here, for webinar information. General Church Update: There is a lot of news-and misinformation-circulating about General Conference and Judicial Council rulings. The Delegation Hub is your Mississippi Conference source for facts and context on these matters. Find recent update and FAQs or send questions to the delegation. Also, you can reference May’s Treasurer’s Notes for information on congregation and conference disaffiliation. May 2022 | The Circuit Rider Monthly Newsletter 3

SAVE THE DATES 2022 Carolina Black Clergy Leadership Retreat – May 23-27 Clergy have a chance to take time out for worship, reflect and refuel during the 2022 Carolina Black Clergy Leadership Retreat May 23-27. The theme of the event is “From Mourning to Dancing” and it is being held at the Embassy Suites in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. All clergy are invited to attend and can register here.

Offices Closed in Observance of Memorial Day – May 30 The episcopal and conference offices will be closed Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day. The offices will re-open Tuesday, May 31, at regular business hours.

Peace With Justice Sunday – June 12 Peace With Justice Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost, June 12. The offering collected will support peace with justice ministries

through the General Board of Church and Society. Click here for the pastor and leader kit resources.

Mississippi United Women in Faith Mission u – June 24-25 For Mission u 2022, the United Women in Faith are doing something new. Instead of three separate studies, this year’s event will focus on one curriculum with the theme, “Who Can We Be Together?” The event will be all virtual beginning with opening worship on Friday, June 24. For more information contact Mary Simpson at

Annual Conference Updates – July 13-15 For all things annual conference visit the Guidebook app or website. There you can find all the latest information and updates for the 2022 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference. Check in today to view the proposed agenda, special meals, information

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES As a courtesy to the Mississippi Annual Conference, job announcements from across the United Methodist connection are featured in The Circuit Rider. To submit an employment notice, send an email to Postings are not guaranteed to appear more than once in Mississippi Conference publications. To read a description of job opening(s) listed below as well as other listing, click here. • Children’s Ministry Director First UMC (Mountain Home, AR) • Director of Children and Family Ministry First UMC (Clearwater, FL) • Director of Youth Ministries John’s Creek UMC (John’s Creek, GA) • Warren W. Willis Camp and Conference Center Development Director (FL) • Director of Student Ministries First UMC of Mountain Home (Mountain Home, AR) • Assistant Director of Student Ministry St. Luke’s UMC (Houston, TX) • Director of Children’s Ministries, Gulf Breeze UMC (Gulf Breeze, FL) • Director of Children’s Place Preschool and Academy, Gulf Breeze UMC (Gulf Breeze, FL) • Executive Assistant (Virginia Conference of the UMC) • St. Luke’s UMC Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries (Jackson, MS) • Associate Director of Youth Ministry Full-Time (Hoover, AL) • Associate Pastor/ Director of Adult Discipleship (Spanish Fort UMC, AL)

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on Tupelo hotels and restaurants, deadlines for submitting reports and other important information. Go to the app on your phone, or click here for the web version to see the latest updates.

CARES AND CONCERNS As you pause to pray this week, take time to ask for strength, peace and comfort for the families and friends of those listed below who have joined the Church Triumphant: • Please be in prayer for the family and friends of Rev. Mary Lou Tickell who passed away Monday, May 2. • We extend love and sympathy to the family of Marjorie D. Jones who passed away May 1. Marjorie was the wife of Rev. Robert Dewitte Jones. • With great sadness we announce the passing of Delia Dabbs who died May 1. Delia was the wife of Rev. James R. (Jimmie) Dabbs. • It is with heavy hearts we share that Rev. Gerald Munday passed away April 28. • We regret to inform you, Ann Lott passed away April 20. Ann was the surviving spouse of Rev. William (Bill) Lott Jr. • We extend our love and sympathy to the family and friends of retired local pastor, Rev. Percy Campbell who passed away peacefully at home April 14. • Please remember the McNair family in your prayers as Rev. Emma McNair passed away Thursday, April 7. • We extend love and sympathy to the family of Rev. Hugh HolderCummings who passed away on the evening of April 6.