Rev. Dr. Ricky James

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Fondren will welcome a new pastor in June.

The Reverend Dr. Ricky James, wife Megan and their two children have received a new appointment where James will serve as senior pastor at Clinton First United Methodist Church.

Rev. Dr. Chuck Meador (currently at Poplar Springs Dr. UMC in Meridian) will lead at St. Luke’s for the first time on Sunday, June 30.

Ken Walley, Chair of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee at St. Luke’s, shared the news from Mississippi United Methodist Conference Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. and the Cabinet of the Mississippi Conference on Sunday.

“The Bishop and Cabinet have asked our Senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Ricky James, to make a move for the good of the whole and he has dutifully said yes,” Walley said.

“Megan and I are grateful for 9 wonderful years of ministry at St. Luke’s and we know that God has great things in store for the Fondren community,” James said on Facebook. “We look forward to being in ministry with our new church family in Clinton and ask for your prayers as we embark on this new adventure!”

Rev. Michael Williams (who has served as community pastor since 2016) will also move to another appointment. Walley acknowledged Williams’ service, saying, “It has been a privilege for this church to see him blossom as a pastor and we are proud to have played a part of his transition to full-time ministry.”

Walley thanked James for nearly a decade of leadership.

“We have had the privilege to have Rev. James and Megan in our family for 9 years,” Walley said. “He shepherded our church through years of recovery and growth. He’s been with us for our weddings. He’s baptized and carried our children up and down the aisles with that big grin on his face. He stood by us as we said goodbye to the ones we love.”

The itinerant system of the United Methodist Church and Mississippi Conference often makes unexpected changes in pastoral leadership. Walley said the membership knew the change was one day inevitable.

“But it doesn’t make today any easier, or any less painful,” he added.

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