The Mississippi Annual Conference is part of The United Methodist Church. With more than 12 million members worldwide, The United Methodist Church is governed by a General Conference that meets every four years. The annual and central conferences elect delegates to the General Conference.
The resident bishop is the presiding officer of the annual conference. The Mississippi Conference is divided into 11 districts, and each district is administered by a district superintendent in consultation with the bishop. The Mississippi Conference meets annually, usually in June, for its regular business session. An equal number of clergy members and lay members from the conference meet together to worship, celebrate the previous year’s ministries and set a course for the coming year. At the conclusion of each conference, the bishop announces the clergy appointments, or assignments.
Number of Churches: 852 apportioned (as of January 1, 2023)
Membership: 150,506 (as of July 1, 2022)
Total Number of Clergy: 900 (as of February 24, 2023)
Number of Active Appointed Clergy: approximately 651 (as of February 24, 2023)
Geographic Area: the state of Mississippi
Offices: The episcopal office (office of the bishop), connectional ministries and communications, administry, spiritual leadership and faith community formation are in the United Methodist Building, located at 320 Briarwood Drive in Jackson.
Districts: District offices are in Brookhaven, Jackson, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Meridian, New Albany, Senatobia, Starkville and Tupelo.
Related Institutions: Mississippi is home to many United Methodist-related institutions, including colleges, community centers, camps and health and welfare organizations.
1799 – Rev. Tobias Gibson appointed by Bishop Francis Asbury to the Natchez Territory from the South Carolina Conference.
1813 – First Mississippi annual conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church organized.
1844 – Southern churches split from Methodist Episcopal Church, forming the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
1845 – Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church continued as Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
1865 – Northern Methodist Church established a Mississippi Conference for newly freed black Methodists.
1867 – North Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church instituted.
1870 – North Mississippi Conference of the MEC, South, formed from churches in the Memphis, Mobile, and Mississippi conferences.
1891 – Upper Mississippi Conference established for black churches in the northern half of the state.
1939 – Three major branches of Methodism – the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church – unite as The Methodist Church.
1968 – The Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren merge denominations to form The United Methodist Church. (Although Mississippi had no EUB congregations)
1973 – Merger of the black Upper Mississippi Conference of the Central Jurisdiction and the white North Mississippi Conference, forming the North Mississippi Conference, and merger of the black Mississippi Conference of the Central Jurisdiction and the white Mississippi Conference, UMC.
1989 – Merger of the Mississippi Conference and North Mississippi Conference, forming the present Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.
2004 – Appointment of Bishop Hope Morgan Ward to Mississippi, making her the first woman to lead a major denomination in Mississippi.
2012-Appointment of Bishop James E. Swanson to Mississippi, making him the first African American to lead The Mississippi United Methodist denomination
2022 - Appointment of Sharma D. Lewis to Mississippi, making her the first African American woman to lead the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.