Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. is a native of Houston, Texas. Swanson has a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries from Southern Bible College in Houston; a Master of Divinity from C. H. Mason Seminary, Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a Doctorate of Humanities from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
Swanson was elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church and assigned to the Knoxville Episcopal Area in June 2004. He became resident bishop of the Mississippi Area September 1, 2012. Bishop Swanson is currently serving as the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He is also a member of the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, the Path One Advisory Board and the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities.
He is married to Delphine Yvonne Ramsey Swanson. They are the proud parents of six children- Karen Swanson Jenkins, James, Jr., Shondell, Carlton, JaNae Swanson-Brown and Joshua. The Swansons also have 11 grandchildren.
Dr. Jason Vickers was appointed to the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary in July of 2015 as Professor of Theology. Since 2006, Dr. Vickers has served on the faculty of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is an effective teacher and well-known author and scholar, having published numerous books and articles in the area of Wesleyan theology. Dr. Vickers’ teaching and writings are typically in the areas of systematic theology, Wesleyan studies, and church renewal (Minding the Good Ground: A Theology for Church Renewal). He is a past President of the Wesleyan Theological Society, current editor of the Wesleyan Theological Journal, and is an ordained United Methodist elder in the Western North Carolina Conference. Dr. Vickers (Ph.D., Southern Methodist University) will serve at the Memphis extension site of Asbury Theological Seminary.
Amy Coles serves as the Assistant to the Bishop in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. A graduate of the University of North Carolina - Greensboro in Child Development and Family Relations and Duke Divinity School, she has pastored churches in Trinity, High Point, and Shoals, North Carolina. Prior to this current position, she served as a district superintendent for six years. Amy is an active participant with the Board of Rural Faith Development CDC and the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke. She enjoys “digging in the dirt”, testing the latest technology innovations, and spending time with family and friends in her free time. She is the legal guardian of her 18-year-old nephew, Brandon, who, as a recent high school graduate, has the joy of discerning the next chapter in his life.