Bishop James Swanson, most recently bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC), has been named Bishop-in-Residence at United Theological Seminary. Following his retirement from nearly 20 years as a bishop in the United Methodist denomination, Bishop Swanson is now using his spiritual gifts to encourage students as they prepare for ministry.
“Bishop Swanson’s highly effective pastoral leadership in local congregations and episcopal leadership in two different annual conferences will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and inspiration to the United community,” says Dr. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary. “We are delighted to welcome him as Bishop-in-Residence at United this spring.”
Throughout his career in ministry as a pastor and district superintendent in the South Georgia Annual Conference and then bishop in the Holston and Mississippi Annual Conferences, Bishop Swanson has found a passion and a talent for helping people embrace their God-given gifts. At the same time, he is deeply committed to encouraging people to develop rich relationships with Christ.
During 14 years as pastor of St. Mary’s Road UMC in Columbus, GA, he saw the congregation grow from 16 active members to 950 and an average worship attendance of 525. He says it was an experience that demonstrated to him the impact of empowering laity in the work of ministry.
Previously Bishop Swanson has taught at several of United’s Doctor of Ministry intensives, and he looks forward to continuing to engage with students in his role as Bishop-in-Residence.
“I’ve been impressed with United’s emphasis on both the academic and practical aspects of theological education,” Bishop Swanson says. “I hope I can encourage students to strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ, to know that their call is genuine, and to see even in their weakest moments that God is using them.”
As Bishop Swanson began his new role at United Theological Seminary on April 1, Bishop Emeritus J. Michael Lowry continues to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees and will serve as Bishop Emeritus at Large for United Theological Seminary.
About United Theological Seminary: United Theological Seminary is a graduate professional school of The United Methodist Church. For more than 150 years, it has prepared men and women to become faithful and fruitful Christian leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ. On-campus and online learning options provide access to master’s and doctoral theological degrees or continuing education.