By Gwen Sisson
Trey Harper, pastor of Eupora First United Methodist Church, said Bishop James E. Swanson “is one of the blessed individuals who simply exude the ‘joy of the Lord.’”
“Therefore his passion and spirit can’t help but be contagious,” Harper said. “No matter your worship style or cultural traditions, Bishop Swanson has a way of reminding us that we are all the Family of God; and you can’t help be get excited.”
Eupora FUMC will be joined by the congregations of Liberty UMC, Bellefontaine UMC and Lebanon UMC this Sunday morning for worship with James Swanson, bishop of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. Worship services will begin at 11 a.m. and all members of the community are invited to come and join in this “special celebration of worship and Holy Communion.” (In the United Methodist tradition, any celebration of Holy Communion is open to all of God’s people.)
“Words cannot express how excited and honored we are to be hosting Bishop Swanson for Sunday morning worship,” Harper said. “Because of the magnitude of his schedule, churches can wait for years just to get a visit. Having him preach and celebrate Holy Communion with our community on Sunday morning is a rare treat. Not only is he a truly exceptional and visionary leader, but is a dynamic preacher.”
Embra Jackson, Starkville district superintendent for the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, said it is an honor to have Swanson to be the guest preacher at Eupora FUMC on Sunday.
“Bishop Swanson is a great spiritual leader and is dynamic preacher,” Jackson said. “He preaches spirit-filled sermons that touch the heart and stimulate the mind. He has truly been a blessing to the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. We humbly invite all persons in the Eupora community to come, hear and blessed by Bishop Swanson.”
Swanson is a native of Houston, Texas. He has a bachelor of science degree in Christian ministries from Southern Bible College in Houston; a master of divinity from C.H. Mason Seminary, Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a doctorate of humanities from Rust College in Holly Springs.
Swanson is an ordained elder of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, where he served as a pastor from 1981 to 2001. From June 1987 to June 2001, Swanson was the senior pastor at St. Mary’s Road United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ga. According to conference records, his fruitful ministry saw the average attendance grow from 12 to more than 550 under Swanson’s tenure.
In June 2001, Swanson was appointed as the district superintendent of the Savannah District.
Swanson was elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church and assigned to the Knoxville Episcopal Area in June 2004. He became resident bishop of the Mississippi Area on Sept. 1, 2012. Bishop Swanson is currently serving as the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He is also a member of the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, the Path One Advisory Board and the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities.
He is married to Delphine Yvonne Ramsey Swanson. They are the proud parents of six children – Karen Swanson Jenkins, James Jr., Shondell, Carlton, JaNae’ and Joshua. The Swansons also have 10 grandchildren.
A special offering will be taken for Imagine No Malaria, a ministry of the Global Health Initiative and an area of focus of The United Methodist Church. The goal of Imagine No Malaria is to raise $75 million in an effort to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.
For more information about Imagine No Malaria, go to http://www.imaginenomalaria.org.
For more information about Swanson’s visit to Eupora FUMC, call the church office at 258-2611.