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Paige Swaim-Presley Named Executive Director of Center for Ministry

by Web on August 17, 2016

Paige Swaim-Presley, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a 2010 graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, is the new executive director of the Center for Ministry.

A shared ministry between Millsaps College and the Mississippi Annual Conference, the center focuses on developing Christian leaders through lifelong learning. The operation of the center was recently restructured under the Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement to integrate it more fully in to the life of the College.

“I look forward to building on the beautiful legacy of those who have gone before me as we move into this new season of the center's life,” said Swaim-Presley, who has served as a pastor, executive director of the Seashore Mission, and as a member of numerous planning teams and committees in the Mississippi Annual Conference. She is a 2015 graduate of Journey Partners, a two-year Center for Ministry training program in the Christian tradition of spiritual direction.

Swaim-Presley replaces Becky Youngblood, a 1973 graduate of Millsaps who recently retired after serving as executive director since 2005.  Youngblood will remain on the staff of Journey Partners through at least 2017.

As director, Swaim-Presley will oversee the center’s learning opportunities, which embody the College’s dedication to “academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation, and the innovative shaping of the social, economic, and cultural progress of our region.” She will also work with spiritual formation programs and formation in the practices of ministry and empowerment toward community engagement that bears witness to the gifts of diversity.

Swaim-Presley hopes to strengthen the relationship that already exists between Millsaps College and the United Methodist Church and to share the best of Millsaps College with religious communities, especially the United Methodist Church in Mississippi, in ways that facilitate partnerships and influence the College’s “across the street and around the globe” focus. She also hopes to expand and diversify the center’s learning opportunities for clergy, laity and others.

“I am passionate about creating opportunities for all people, particularly clergy and laity within the United Methodist tradition that is so uniquely a part of Millsaps College’s identity,” she said.

The center’s current programs include:

  • Continuing Education for United Methodist Clergy
  • Journey Partners, a two-year program of spiritual direction that is led by the Rev. Wendy Miller, noted author, teacher, pastor, and spiritual director, and Dr. Dwight Judy, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at  Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and author of A Quiet Pentecost.
  • Mississippi Course of Study School, an education program dedicated to the formation of part-time United Methodist pastors. It is administered by the Center for Ministry and operated as an extension program of Candler School of Theology, Emory University.
  • Licensing School, an introduction to the practice of ministry for certified candidates in the United Methodist Church.
  • Certificate of Christian Studies, a program designed to give lay members of the church an opportunity to deepen their faith, strengthen their ministry, and expand their knowledge of Biblical studies, theology and church, mission, and evangelism.
  • Spiritual Formation, which includes facilitating connections between persons seeking spiritual direction and trained spiritual directors; facilitating retreats for clergy, laity, and congregations; and facilitating continuing education and peer supervision opportunities for practicing spiritual directors.