by Web on June 27, 2016
The Rev. Ricky James, B.A. 2004, pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Jackson, was recently honored for nurturing the United Methodist Church’s ministries in higher education.
James received the Francis Asbury Award during the 2016 Session of the Mississippi Annual Conference. The award is given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the church's ministries in higher education at the local, district, or annual conference level of the church.
The award is named for Bishop Asbury and is based on his admonition to the people, calling Methodists to erect a school in the vicinity of every church. “We must,” Asbury said, “. . . give the key of knowledge to your children, and those of the poor in the vicinity of your small towns and villages.”
James was recognized for his eight years of service on the Higher Education and Campus Ministry Committee of the Annual Conference. As the chair of the committee he also served on the Millsaps College Trustee Nominating Committee for the last eight years as well.
The Higher Education and Campus Ministry Committee exists to “spread the Good News of Jesus Christ on 26 public college and university campuses in the state of Mississippi as well as our two historic United Methodist institutions, Rust and Millsaps Colleges,” James said.
The Mississippi Annual Conference continues to be among the leaders of the Methodist denomination with one of the highest percentages of clergy under the age of 35, he said. “Commitment to campus ministry plays a significant role in the development of clergy and lay leaders for our Annual Conference,” he said.
James recalled how his spiritual growth was supported while he was a student at Millsaps College. “Chaplain Don Fortenberry and the Millsaps Wesley Foundation not only provided a needed source of spiritual growth and fellowship, but also served as place to nurture my own call into ordained ministry,” he said.
The Mississippi Annual Conference has one of the largest Higher Education and Campus Ministry budgets and the largest number of Wesley Foundations in the entire denomination, he said.