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UVa-Wise to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with candlelight march on Jan. 17

Bishop James E. Swanson, presiding prelate of the United Methodist Holston Conference, will be the featured speaker during the College’s 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 17.


The community is invited to participate in the event, which begins with a free dinner at 5:30 p.m. at the First Church of God in Wise. A candlelight march from the First Church of God through downtown Wise begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends at the Wise Baptist Church, where the formal program will begin at 7 p.m. Transportation will be provided for those unable to walk.

 

Swanson received a Masters of Divinity degree from C.H. Mason Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center 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 on the Annual, Jurisdictional, and General conference levels. He was elected bishop during the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference while serving as the district superintendent of the Savannah District in South Georgia. The bishop lives in Knoxville and serves as the resident bishop of 910 congregations in Northeast Georgia, East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and West Virginia.


Prior to Swanson's presentation, Justin Preston will recite King’s revered “I Have a Dream” speech and Mt. Sinai Spirituals will perform. Ritchie Kennedy and Mark Wooten of Wise will also perform. Mary Eubanks, the founder of the event, will also address the crowd.


For more information, contact the Office of College Relations at 276-376-1027.