May 25, 2019  

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Mississippi UMC Leader Speaker for MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast Jan. 21 at USM

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Rev. James E. Swanson, Sr.

The head of the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Mississippi will serve as the keynote speaker for the 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical and Multicultural Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 a.m. in the ballroom of The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

Rev. James E. Swanson, Sr., who became the first African-American bishop of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2012, is an internationally recognized preacher and lecturer. A member of the board of trustees for Emory University in Atlanta, he has delivered sermons and shared his insights at church services and events in Japan, Russia, the Holy Land, South Africa and across the U.S.

The theme for this year’s MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast is “One America." Hosted by the Mu Gamma Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the breakfast program  will include a presentation of awards by the organization, including its Community Service, Community Impact, Humanitarian, Douglass T. Baker and Friend of Alpha Phi Alpha awards. This event is free and open to the public. 

“We’re very pleased to have a speaker of the caliber and reputation of Bishop Swanson,” said Dr. Eddie Holloway, dean of students at USM and organizer for the event. “His life’s work exemplifies the message we strive to convey through the prayer breakfast, and we look forward to having members of our community and beyond join us for his presentation.”

Rev. Brad Corban, pastor of Court Street and Bentley Chapel United Methodist Churches in Hattiesburg, says he’s proud of the work Bishop Swanson has done and continues to do to bridge divisions in society.

“Bishop Swanson is a great choice to be speaker for this event,” Rev. Corban said. “He’s made tremendous strides through his efforts in challenging people to do more to build relationships across differences. I feel supported by him in my own work in building understanding of different life experiences across race, and in other areas.”  

For more information on this event, contact Dr. Holloway at