REV. DR. LOYE ASHTON COS 522: Theology in the Contemporary Church
Loye Ashton is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi.In 1990 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, and in 1992, a Masters of Theological Studies degree from the Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts.He earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (Comparative and Systematic Theology) from Boston University in 2003. From 2003 to 2006 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.At Tougaloo since 2006, he is the Chair of the Interdisciplinary Career Oriented Humanities Major (ICOHM) Department and Director of the Religious Studies Program.He is a member of the Honors Program Faculty at Tougaloo as well as a biomedical research ethicist in the Educational Training Program of the Jackson Heart Study. He has been a member of the American Academy of Religion since 1993 and a member of the North American Paul Tillich Society since 2004 where he recently served as President (2008).
Dr. Ashton has three theological commentaries published in Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Lectionary Commentary Series, Year B, Volumes 3 & 4 (2009, Westminster John Knox Press).His article, “Religion and Segregation,” appears in the Mississippi Encyclopedia (2010, University Press of Mississippi). He is also currently working on two book-length projects: Faithful Uncertainty: Introducing Contemporary Theology, as part of the Westminster History of Christian Thought Series (also by Westminster John Knox Press) and a current manuscript project about the sources of the opposition to the Gülen/Hizmet interfaith peace movement in Turkey.Interviews of his work with the Gülen movement are available on YouTube and many of his interfaith conference presentations have been published in Turkish.In 2009 he was accepted into the American Academy of Religion research seminar on Comparative Theology and Theologies of Religious Pluralism (Cohort One) affiliated with the Luce Foundation and also became a contributing blogger to the website “rockandtheology.com” administered by Liturgical Press and Fordham University.
REV. DR. TOM ATKINS COS 424: Ethics
REV. RACHEL BENEFIELD-PFAFF COS 322: Our Theological Heritage III: Medieval and Reformation
Rachel earned a Bachelors of Science degree in American Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985, a Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School, Duke University in 1988, and in 1999 a Masters of Philosophy in Systematic Theology and Religious Studies at New College of the University of Edinburgh. She is an elder in the Mississippi Conference of the UMC and has served as associate pastor at Central Hall Methodist Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, pastor of Faith UMC in Pascagoula, and Handsboro and Leggett Memorial UMCs in Gulfport . Rachel has also served as campus minister for the Wesley Foundation at the University of Southern Mississippi and as co-director of "Protestantism and Politics" in Edinburgh, Scotland in conjunction with the USM British Studies Program. She has led numerous retreats on prayer and spirituality. In her non-ministerial life, she has worked as an instructor in sailing and swimming, as a lifeguard, and as a bagpipe musician.
REV. KEVIN CARTER COS 224: Administration and Polity
REV. STEVE CASTEEL COS 124: Transformative Leadership
Steve is the pastor of Clinton UMC and the Executive Director & Host of the United Methodist Hour TV ministry. He served as the Director of Communication & Connectional Ministries for the MS Conference for 7 years. Steve holds degrees from Wood College, Mississippi State University (B.A.), and Emory University (M.Div.). He also participated in the Board of Discipleship's Academy of Preaching and Duke University's United Methodist and Cultural Study.
An ordained Elder in the MS Conference, Steve has served as pastor of the Flower Ridge Charge (Louisville, MS), the Pleasant Hill Charge (Olive Branch, MS), Morton United Methodist Church (Morton, MS), Petal United Methodist Church (Petal, MS), and St. Matthew's United Methodist Church (Madison, MS). He has been a member of several Boards of Directors, including the American Cancer Society Mid-South, Hinton Rural Life Center, The Center for Ministry, Millsaps College, and Bethlehem Center. He also served a term as president of the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference.
Steve and his wife Cindy, a National Board Certified second grade teacher, have two adult children, Cari and Matt. He enjoys reading, golf, and collecting comic books.
REV. DR. STEPHEN COOK COS 423: Mission Stephen Cook is an ordained Elder in the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church.On July 1, 2015 he became the District Superintendent of the West Jackson District where he formerly served as pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.His leadership beyond the local church includes terms on the Boards of Directors of the Jackson State Wesley Foundation and the Center for Ministry. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University (Bachelor of Arts, 1993), Memphis Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, 2002; Doctor of Ministry, 2015.
REVS. CHRIS & SHEILA CUMBEST COS 122: Theological Heritage I: Introduction Chris and Sheila co-teach this course as they have taught many other courses to help candidates and local pastors prepare for ministry. Chris graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 1990 and has served for 28 years in a variety of appointments in the MS Conference--rural, county seat, and inner city. He was also heavily involved in church recovery after Hurricane Katrina. His passion is resourcing pastors and equipping all people to serve Jesus Christ in every place, but especially with people on the margin. Chris is currently Senior Pastor at Crossgates UMC in Brandon.
Sheila also graduated from Duke Divinity School in 1990 with a Master of Religious Education. Ordained as a Deacon in 1997, she has served local churches for most of her ministry, working in Christian education with children, youth, and families and in administration. She was Director of Ministerial Services for the MS Conference from 2004-2008. Sheila is now appointed as an Associate Pastor at Christ UMC in Jackson.
REV. DR. DOROTHY DICKSON-RISHEL COS 323: Congregational Care Dorothy Dickson-Rishel is an elder in the Mississippi Conference who is currently appointed to Memorial Hospital of Gulfport in an extension ministry as a clinical psychologist. She has been in this ministry of support and counseling to the medically ill since 1993. Dorothy has also served as pastor of churches in Biloxi and Liverpool, England and on pastoral staffs in Gulfport and Dallas.
Dorothy hold degrees from Southern Methodist University in English, Psychology, and Divinity. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. But more importantly, she proudly holds the titles of wife and of mother. Dorothy loves to travel, dance, and listen for the Word of God. Besides belonging to Jesus and her family, her heart is with the Phakamisa project of Pinetown Methodist Church in South Africa. This ministry continues to provide education and sustenance to children, women and families of rural communities devastated by the AIDS crisis.
REV. DR. DENISE DONNELL COS 421: Bible IV: Prophets Psalms, and Wisdom Denise Donnell is an elder in the Mississippi Conference of the
UMC. She holds degrees in English, Education and Divinity from Jackson
State, the University of Mississippi and Perkins School of Theology. In 2008
she earned a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Supervision in 2008 from
Jackson State University.
is the only daughter and youngest child of Brenda and LV Donnell of Jackson,
Mississippi. Both of her older brothers live in Southwest Florida.
Denise has 5 nieces and 1 grandnephew. In her spare
time she enjoys reading, writing, singing, dancing and practicing American Sign
REV. HEATHER HENSARLING COS 524: Theological Reflection: Practice of Ministry
REV. DR. JOE MAY COS 523: Evangelism
Joe W. May is an ordained Elder of the Mississippi Conference . He is a graduate of Rust College and Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta Georgia. He has served as a pastor, district superintendent, and administrative assistant to the Bishop. A member of the Mississippi Course of Study faculty for 14 years, Joe is currently the pastor of Anderson United Methodist, Jackson, Mississippi.
REV. DR. CHUCK MEADOR COS 521: Bible V: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation
Chuck Meador is an ordained Elder in the MS Conference currently serving as the pastor of Poplar Springs Drive UMC in Meridian. He loves studying and teaching scripture. He is also passionate about issues related to poverty alleviation as well as local missional outreach and discipleship, especially among at-risk children and young adults. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997; a M.Div. degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in 2000; and a D.Min. from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2006.
Chuck has always said that his best asset in ministry is his wife Katie. They are the parents of three children. His hobbies include playing with his children, hiking, camping, reading, playing guitar, and woodworking.
REV. CHRIS MCALILLY COS 323: Worship and Sacraments
Chris McAlilly is an ordained Elder of the Mississippi Conference. A graduate of Birmingham Southern College and Candler School of Theology, Chris is currently serving as the Associate Pastor at Oxford-University United Methodist Church. He is passionate about the formation of disciples particularly in and through the worship and sacramental practice of the church.
REV. DR. SAM MORRIS COS 221: Bible II: Torah and Israel's History
Currently, Dr. Sam Morris serves as an approved evangelist from the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, Director of the Society for Biblical Exploration, and the President of the Jerusalem Institute for Biblical Exploration. Sam also teaches Christian groups traveling to the Holy Land and works to support Christians in the Holy Land. Dr. Morris is actively working for and praying for a just peace for all the people of the lands of the Bible REV.
DR. JIM PORTER COS 123: Formation and Discipleship
Dr. Jim Porter is the pastor of Centenary UMC in McComb, MS. He has also served on the staff of Heritage United Methodist Church, Hattiesburg ,Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, and as president of Wesley Biblical Seminary.
Dr. Porter holds degrees from Oregon State University, Western Evangelical Seminary (M.Div.), Wayne State College (M.A. in Education), and the University of Oregon (Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction). He has taught at Wayne State College, Vennard College and Wesley Biblical Seminary.
Dr. Porter was ordained in 1973, coming from the Evangelical United Brethren background (we were the ones who united the Methodists). He has pastored churches in Nebraska and Iowa before coming to Mississippi in 1980. Jim has also been involved in small group ministries and worked with Lyman Coleman and the Serendipity conferences. Other small group leadership includes seminar work with Pilgrimage Small Group Ministries (NAV Press) . He leads Christian Education and evangelism workshops. Dr. Porter has been involved with missions in Belize, leading seminars for the national pastors there for ten years. He has also been to Russia twice working to establish a Methodist Church in Krasnodar.
REV. DR. J. ERIC PRIDMORE COS 321: Bible III: Gospels
Born and raised in Columbus, MS, Eric is an ordained Elder and pastors Memorial UMC in Bolton with his wife, the Rev. Lisa Pridmore. Eric is also on faculty at Hinds Community College in Raymond, teaching courses in Old Testament, New Testament, and sociology. In addition, Eric has previously pastored congregations in Oxford, NJ and Rolling Fork and Cary, MS. He earned an A.A.S. from Wood College (1991), a B.A. in sociology from Mississippi State University (1993), an M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (1996), and a Ph.D. in the sociology of religion from the Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University (2010). Eric is co-chair of the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities, a member of the United Methodist National Task Force on Disability Ministry, and serves on the board of SEMAR in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. He enjoys reading, listening to all types of music, shooting basketball, and camping.
REV. DR. BOB RAMBO COS 324: Preaching
Bob Rambo is a native of West Point, MS. Bob entered the ministry in 1980 and has served churches small and large from Wren to Clarksdale, Ripley to Starkville. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Meridian. Bob attended Wood College ('75), Mississippi State University ('80), and Memphis Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, ‘84; Doctor of Ministry, ‘02). He also is a teacher for The Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, and enjoys leading groups to the Holy Land.
REV. DR. JOEY SHELTON COS 422: Theological Heritage IV: Wesleyan Movement
Joey Shelton is an ordained Elder of the Mississippi Conference. He is a graduate of Millsaps College (BBA, 1982), The University of Mississippi School of Law (JD, 1985), Duke Divinity School (M.Div., 1997), and Columbia Theological Seminary (D.Min., 2006). Prior to entering Divinity School, he practiced law from 1985-1994. He has served pastorates in rural and urban settings, and served on staff at Duke Divinity School as Co-Director of Field Education (2005-2007). Joey is currently the senior pastor of Galloway United Methodist Church, Jackson, Mississippi and a Trustee of Millsaps College.
REV. CARY STOCKETT COS 121: Bible I: Introduction Rev. Cary Stockett is the senior pastor of Crawford Street United Methodist Church in Vicksburg. A Jackson native, he grew up near Crystal Springs. He is a graduate of Mississippi College and Asbury Theological Seminary, and has also pastored churches in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Byram, Carthage, and Leake County.
"Teaching this course is one of the highlights of my year," Cary says. "It really is! I have a blast teaching, and my students seem to have a goodtime, too. We get to explore the Gospel of Christ through the medium of the Scriptures, and my guiding principle is that the Gospel is far better news than we've ever dared to believe."
Cary is married to Mechelle, and they have two sons, Andrew and Elliot.He enjoys playing guitar and singing, listening to all kinds of music, hunting, and “going to the farm.”As a certified book-nut, he loves reading…especially history, biography, theology, and Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Mailing Address: Center for Ministry Box 150041 Millsaps College 1701 N. State Street Jackson, MS 39210