The Circuit Rider August 2023

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The Circuit Rider

Rev. Marta Sobrino Bolen has seen transformative growth in her congregation, and she credits a lot of it to the time she invested attending the hospitality training for Lighthouse Congregations back in late April. Lighthouse Congregations serve as safe harbors for United Methodists who are now without a church due to disaffiliations or church closures. They also serve seekers—people who are not

Senatobia District’s Missions in May Spreads Love to the Community

During Missions in May churches were encouraged to find a way to serve a group of people beyond their local church. Multiple churches in the Senatobia District went above and beyond putting their best foot forward to display the love of Christ across their communities. [Read More]

committed to a church yet and are searching for deeper meaning in life. Bolen, pastor of Glenfield United Methodist Church in New Albany, came to the training hosted by the Mississippi Conference Faith Community Formation Office and left the gathering reflecting on things she heard and how to implement them. Read more about practical steps that can move your congregation to be more hospitable.

Safe Harbor UMC Takes Worship Outside for ‘New Thing Sunday’

Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant Bishop Sharma D. Lewis dedicated Sunday, June 25 as New Thing Sunday in the Mississippi Conference. On this Sunday laity would come up with fresh ideas for conducting Sunday worship while clergy and their families took a Sabbath. Safe Harbor United Methodist Church in Moss Point took a unique approach to New Thing Sunday. Instead of having Sunday worship inside of their church building, Safe Harbor’s ministry team took worship to the community. [Read More]

Monthly Newsletter August 2023 IN THIS ISSUE: Is the UMC Really...? Part 8 page 2 | Methodist Rehab Welcomes Chaplain page 2 | Conference Treasurer’s Notes page 3 | UMC Takes Jesus to the Streets page 3 | Save the Dates page 4 | Cares and Concerns page 4
Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church
Jasmine Haynes, Communications Specialist Safe Harbor UMC member, Evelyn DeAngelo leads New Thing Sunday Worship. Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant Children participate in one of La Misíon’s summer children’s ministries. Photo courtesy of Rev. Marta Bolen

Wesley Foundation’s Food Pantry Addresses Student Hunger

The Wesley Foundation on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, USM, is collecting food donations to bless students who are facing food insecurity. Thanks to the generosity of donors like Fairfield United Methodist Church and their pastor Rev. Paul Roller, pictured above, the pantry was filled. As a new school year begins more donations are needed to keep up with demand. [Read More]

West Park UMC’s Endowment Provides Lasting Gift

Though West Park United Methodist Church closed its doors in 1998, the congregants’ decision to be a blessing to United Methodist students and United Methodist senior service agency Riggs Manor continues until this day. Click here to read how the congregation’s endowment created a legacy that continues 25 years after West Park’s closing.

Methodist Rehabilitation Welcomes Chaplain Rev. Maxine Bolden

Rev. Maxine Bolden is the new chaplain at Mississippi Conference benevolence Methodist Rehabilitation Center. With a background in healthcare and previously working as a hospital and college campus chaplain, Rev. Bolden will focus on the spiritual restoration of the patients at Methodist Rehabilitation Center. [Read More]

“I really appreciate the level of excellence the team here provides in the area of recovery, and I am honored to be able to do this.”

Is The United Methodist Church Really…?


This is the eighth in a series of articles offering factual responses to questions addressing the disaffiliation process in central conferences and “extended” or “alternative” disaffiliation policies beyond 2023 in six annual conferences in the United States. To read the article, click here, and to read all the articles in the series click here.

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Connection News
– Rev. Maxine Bolden

Millsaps College Receives Grant for Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative

Millsaps College has received a grant of $1,183,275 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help create a partnership program with three Jackson United Methodist churches. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers at Aldersgate UMC, Galloway Memorial UMC and St. Luke’s UMC share their faith and values with their children. Click here to learn more about the initiative. Photo courtesy of

Beasley UMC Prepares Students for New School Year

Beasley United Methodist Church, in Drew, offered prayer, school supplies and uniforms for students and their families during the town’s Back to School Bash. Their volunteers wore “Take Jesus to the Streets” t-shirts that reflected Bishop Sharma D. Lewis’ introductory message of getting out of the church building and bringing Jesus to the community. To see pictures of the event, click here We’d like to see how your church ‘Takes Jesus to the Streets.’ Send your stories and photos to

Parkway Heights Hosts ERT Training

Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg will host a disaster early response team, ERT, training Saturday, September 23, beginning at 9:00 a.m. There is a $40 registration fee, and clergy who attend will receive 0.7 CEUs. Those interested in being a Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster can click here to register.

Conference Treasurer’s Notes

Mississippi Conference News
August 2023 | The Circuit Rider Monthly Newsletter 3
Mississippi Conference Treasurer, David Stotts shares insight on stewardship, the church budget process, direct invoice and medical and property insurance. Click here to read the latest notes from the conference treasurer. UMCOR ERT workers begin repairs to a home in Rolling Fork.

August through December Scriptures Available

At the beginning of the year, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis challenged members of the Mississippi Conference to seek God’s word together through the reading of scripture. Click here for 2023 Bible Challenge headquarters where you’ll find upcoming monthly scripture reading plans and all things Bible Challenge.


Labor Day Office Closure – Sept. 4

The Mississippi Conference and Episcopal offices will be closed Monday, September 4, in recognition of Labor Day. The offices will reopen on Tuesday, September 5 at regular business hours.

Spiritual Wellness Retreat –Sept. 7-8

The office of spiritual leadership is offering an opportunity for healing and restoration for Mississippi Conference clergy during their upcoming Spiritual Wellness Retreat. The retreat begins Thursday, September 6 at Camp Wesley Pines in Hazlehurst. The cost to attend is $100 and all clergy who attend will receive 1 CEU. Click here for more information and to register. The deadline for registration is August 28.

World Communion Sunday – Oct. 1

Sunday October 1 is World Communion Sunday. Offerings collected on this Special Sunday provide racial and ethnic students with scholarships, grants, mentoring and training for leadership. Click here for the 2023 World Communion Sunday pastor and leader kit.

United Women in Faith Annual Meeting – Oct. 6-7

The Mississippi Conference chapter of United Women in Faith will host its annual meeting October 6-7 at Rust College in Holly Springs. The theme for this year’s conference is “Where do We Go from Here,” taken from Micah 6:8. Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will address the body during Saturday morning’s session. Click here for more information and to register to attend.


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.

• Administrative Assistant to Senior Minister & Spiritual Formation Galloway UMC (Jackson, MS)

• Part-time Pianist, Broadmeadow UMC (Jackson, MS)

• Director of Student Ministries, First UMC (Mountain Home, AR)

• Ministries Coordinator, Crossgates UMC (Brandon, MS)

• Director of Student Ministries, Isle of Hope (Isle of Hope, GA)


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:

• We regret to inform you that Rev. Ellis Lynch passed away August 3.

• With great sadness we report that Rev. Ralph Johnson Jr. passed away July 16.

• Mrs. Linda Branning, widow of Rev. Billy Joe Branning joined the Church Triumphant July 1.

• Please remember in prayer the family of Rev. John Travelbee. He passed away June 16.

• Our hearts are saddened to share with you that Rev. John Thomas Tucker passed away May 28.

• We ask that you pray for the family of Bishop Marshall L. Meadors, Mississippi’s episcopal leader from 1992 until his retirement in 2000. Bishop Meadors passed away May 25.

• Please join us in prayer for the family of Anna Rouse Anderson. Mrs. Anderson, the widow of Rev. Bertist Rouse passed away May 1.

• With heavy hearts we report that Emma Lee Brown, spouse of Rev. Fred Brown passed away April 22.

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