“My dream is to see the United Methodist Church turn this declining membership around,” Swanson said soon after his election. “I really feel we have a message that the world needs to hear. We believe in personal salvation. We are so committed to social justice.” The church has a mission to make a difference in the world, he said, adding, “I want to see the church having fun doing that, that’s my dream.”
JAMES E. SWANSON, SR.
THE HOLSTON ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Bishop James Swanson is a native of Houston, Texas and the son of Carl Edward Swanson and Arnola V. Triplett both deceased. He is married to the former Delphine Yvonne Ramsey. They have six children and ten grandchildren.
He received a Masters of Divinity degree from C.H. Mason Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA in 1980. He was ordained an elder in the South Georgia Conference where he has served the Statesboro Circuit a four-point charge, the Palen-Mt. Zion Charge a two-point charge and the St. Mary’s Road Church in Columbus, GA, the first cross-racial appointment in that conference. Under his able leadership this congregation grew from an average attendance of 12 to an average attendance exceeding 550.
He has served in many leadership positions in the communities where he was appointed and on the Annual, Jurisdictional, and General Conference levels. He was elected to the office of Bishop during the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, while serving as the District Superintendent of the Savannah District in South Georgia.
He has been a guest speaker, workshop leader, and preacher not only in the United States, but in Maputo, Mozambique; the Bahamas; Brazil; Sydney, Australia; Seoul, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and Liberia West Africa.
He now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee where he serves as the Resident Bishop of 910 congregations in Northeast Georgia, East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia.