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Methodist Bishops, Millsaps Alumni

Honoring the Bishops of Yesterday & Today, Preparing the Leaders of Tomorrow


Bishop William McAlilly, B.A. 1978
Bishop McAlilly has served as a pastor at small and large churches, led mission trips to foreign countries, worked with teens, mentored clergy, and developed new congregations. His appointments have included St. Marks United Methodist Church in Madison (1994-2000) where the congregation doubled its membership and built a new sanctuary and office addition and First United Methodist Church in Tupelo (2000-2006) where the Helping Hands Ministry expanded its reach to 5,000 people annually and the congregation worked with Trinity United Methodist Church in Marks to create Delta Mission Partnership in Lambert. He most recently served as district superintendent of the Seashore District of the Mississippi Conference and was a key leader in rebuilding churches and homes on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. He was elected a bishop of the UMC Conference in July 2012. 


Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, B.A. 1970
Master of Divinity & Doctor of Ministry
Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Bishop Goodpaster served appointments in Vaiden, Indianola, Clarksdale, Como, Oxford, Meridian, and Tupelo, including superintendant of the Tupelo District, before his election to the episcopacy in 2000 and assignment to the Alabama-West Florida Area. He has served on the General Commission on Church and Society, the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Board Chairs and Registrars, the General Commission on Religion and Race, Methodist Healthcare Inc., and the Theological Schools Review Committee. He is the author of Like a Breath of Fresh Air, a collection of sermons for Pentecost. 
Bishop Goodpaster hopes to unite "knowledge and vital piety" as a means of equipping persons with dynamic faith, strong core values, and vigorous intellect for leadership in both the church and the world for the 21st century.


Bishop Mary Ann McDonald Swenson, B.A. 1969
Doctor of Ministry, Claremont School of Theology

After serving as youth director at St. Luke's and Capitol Street in Jackson, Bishop Swenson pastored churches in California, Vancouver, and Washington, and superintendant of the Puget Sound District, including congregations north of Seattle. She served on the boards of Global Ministries and Discipleship. She was elected to the episcopacy in 1992 and assigned to the Denver Area with oversight of 400 congregations in the west. In 2000, she was assigned to the Los Angeles area with oversight for California-Pacific Annual Conference, the territory of Guam and Saipan, and the Korean Mission. She serves on the General Committee on Finance and Administration and is a director of the Center for JustPeace.
Bishop Swenson pursues the dream of leading the church to become a more inclusive community, justice seeking, and more perfect in love of God and neighbor.  


Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, B.A. 1970
Master of Divinity, Candler School of Theology

Bishop Whitaker served Spring Ridge in Jackson before transferring to the Virginia Conference, where he was pastor of rural, small town, suburban, and center city churches. As an elder, he served on the Board of Discipleship, Board of Global Ministries and chaired the Division of Elders of the Board of Ordained Ministry in the Virginia Conference. He was superintendant of the Norfolk District when he was elected to the episcopacy in 2001. He has written articles for The Christian Century, Circuit Rider, Lectionary Homiletics and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
A student of patristics and history of the early church, Bishop Whitaker is interested in recovering the living tradition of the Christian church for equipping the contemporary church to fulfill its mission in a pluralistic and secularized society.


Bishop Clay F. Lee, B.A. 1951
Bachelor of Divinity, Candler School of Theology

Bishop Lee served appointments in Unity, Jackson (Capitol Street and Leavell Woods), Raymond, Quitman, and Philadelphia: Executive Director of the Mississippi Conference Council on Ministries and superintendent of the Brookhaven District before his 12-year tenure at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson. He was elected Bishop in 1988 and assigned to the Holston Conference. He chaired the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, Benefits 2000 Task Force, Joint Committee on Communications, Appalachian Development Committee and the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops. He is the author of Jesus Never Said Everyone Was Lovable, based on a series of sermons broadcast on The Protestant Hour. He was Bishop in Residence at Galloway from 1996-2000 and is currently Bishop in residence at Millsaps.


Bishop Homer Ellis Finger, Jr., B.A. 1937
Bachelor of Divinity, Yale University Divinity School

Bishop Finger served appointments in Coldwater, the United States Navy, and Oxford and was President of Millsaps College from 1952 to 1964. In 1964 he was elected to the episcopacy assigned to the Nashville area, which included the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences until 1976 and the Holston Conference from 1976-1984. During his tenure as Bishop he chaired the United Methodist Commission on Chaplains and Related Ministries, Scarritt College trustees, the Committee on Confirmation Resources, Executive Committee of the World Methodist Council, and General Council on Finance and Administration. He was a member of the Board of Christian Social Concerns, Methodist Corporation, Committee on Communications, executive committee of the Council of Bishops, and chaired the Council of Bishops in 1981-82.


Bishop Roy C. Clark, B.A. 1941
Bachelor of Divinity, Yale University Divinity School

Bishop Clark served appointments in Pascagoula, Wesson, Centerville, Forest, Jackson (Capitol Street), Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., before being elected to the episcopacy in 1980, where he served the Columbia, S.C., Area. He has served as adjunct faculty at Memphis Theological School and Vanderbilt University. His episcopal duties have included service on the General Board of Global Ministries, President of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and trustee of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. He is author of Expect a Miracle and has written articles for United Methodist curriculum and Disciple Resources.


Bishop Joel D. McDavid, B.A. 1941 (1916-2003)
Bachelor of Divinity, Candler School of Theology

Bishop McDavid served pastorates in Grand Bay Circuit, Toulminville, Auburn, Montgomery and Dauphin Way, Alabama, until his election as a Bishop in 1972. During his 12 years as an active bishop, he served the Florida and North Georgia Conferences. In his retirement, he taught at Candler School of Theology until becoming Bishop in Residence at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church. He served on the General Boards of Global Missions, Ministries, Discipleship and Higher Education.


Bishop Nolan B. Harmon, B.A. 1914 (1892-1993)
Master of Arts, Princeton University

Bishop Harmon served a brief time in the chaplaincy of the U.S. Army in World War I, followed by appointments in the Baltimore Conference. In 1940, he was elected Book Editor of the re-united Methodist Churches, editing official documents of the Church, Abingdon Press, the journal Religion in Life and The Interpreter's Bible. He was elected a Bishop in 1956 and served the Charlotte Area and the South Carolina Conference. He later administered the North Alabama and Kentucky Conferences. Following his retirement, he edited the Encyclopedia of World Methodism, published in 1974, and was visiting professor in the Candler School of Theology. He authored numerous books, including Ministerial Ethics and Etiquette, The Organization of the Methodist Church, The Rites and Ritual of Episcopal Methodism, and served on the commission to produce both the 1934 and the 1964 Methodist Hymnal. He was the baccalaureate speaker for the 75th anniversary of his graduating class at Millsaps.