"108 Mississippi United Methodist Pastors Endorse Initiative 42" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS


108 Mississippi United Methodist Pastors Endorse Initiative 42

108 Mississippi United Methodist pastors have released an open letter endorsing Initiative 42. The letter states that each signing pastor's position on the upcoming ballot initiative stems from John Wesley's passion for meeting educational needs even in 18th century England and Jesus' command to let the "little children come to me." Bruce Case, head pastor at Parkway Hills Methodist Church, helped craft the letter and send it out to pastors throughout the state. Pastors were invited to respond and sign their name to the letter, and it took Case less than a day to collect over 100 signatures. Case said they could have collected more signatures, but wanted to get the letter out due to timing.

The full letter has been produced verbatim below:

A Letter from 108 Mississippi United Methodist Pastors:

As Mississippi United Methodist pastors serving in rural areas, county seats, and large towns all across our wonderful state, we are compelled to speak out on behalf of our children and Mississippi public school education.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, was passionate about providing all children access to educational opportunities in 18th Century England. He opened libraries, published reading material for children, and founded schools that served impoverished children. He believed every child—regardless of gender or economic background—deserved the opportunity a quality education provided.

Because we believe that every child in Mississippi has a right to a great education, we will be voting in favor of Initiative 42 when we go to the ballot on November 3. Initiative 42 will require our legislators to follow our state law and fully fund public education based on the MEAP (MAEP) formula. Our Legislature has failed to honor this law nearly every year since its adoption (by our legislature!) in 1997.

We are disappointed that politicians have added 42-A to the ballot. 42-A will confuse thousands of people who are trying to make an informed decision regarding our children’s well being. Please be advised: 42-A is simply a vote for the status quo. What is the status quo?

-Since 2008, the state budget (excluding federal funds) has grown by 35% while K-12 education's portion of the state budget has grown by 2.47%. -MS ranks 47th in per student funding out of 51 (including District of Columbia). -Mississippi ranks last among our neighboring states in per student funding.

The status quo limits our children; it limits our state; it deprives all of us of economic stability.

We can rise above the status quo! We can begin to work together to ensure every community in our state has a school with high-quality facilities, full of teachers and students who have all they need to succeed. Initiative 42 will be a much-needed step in the right direction for K-12 education in Mississippi.

We strive to be faithful to Jesus’ high calling in the communities we serve, and we can think of no higher priority in God’s Kingdom than our children. Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” We can’t think of a single child in Mississippi that Jesus would turn away. Let’s make all children our top priority. They desperately need it, and they deserve the resources Initiative 42 will bring.


  1. Rev. Bruce Case, Madison
  2. Rev. Dr. Eddie Rester, Oxford
  3. Rev. Dawn Douglas Flowers, Bay St. Louis
  4. Rev. Austin Hoyle, Gautier
  5. Rev. Brad Corban, Hattiesburg
  6. Rev. David McCoy, Jackson
  7. Rev. Rick Brooks, Tupelo
  8. Rev. Reed McCaleb, Brandon
  9. Rev. Martha June Kirby, Ocean Springs
  10. Rev. Megan Becnel, Picayune
  11. Rev. Lisa Garvin, Jackson
  12. Rev. Chris Brooking Richardson, Summit
  13. Rev. Susannah Grubbs-Carr, Vicksburg
  14. Rev. Stacey Parvin, Louisville
  15. Rev. Lance Presley, Gulfport
  16. Rev. Paige Swaim-Presley, Gulfport
  17. Rev. Justin White, Greenville
  18. Rev. LaRue Owen, Jackson
  19. Rev. Jonathan Altman, Gulfport
  20. Rev. Richard Robbins, Madison
  21. Rev. Lynette Little, Ocean Springs
  22. Rev. Heather Hensarling, Brookhaven
  23. Rev. Rachel Benefield-Pfaff, Biloxi
  24. Rev. John Brashier, Jackson
  25. Rev. Susan Eaton, Hattiesburg
  26. Rev. Victor Chatham, State Line
  27. Rev. Becky Youngblood, Jackson
  28. Rev. Mitch Cochran, Vicksburg
  29. Rev. Joe E. Garvin, Montrose and Garlandville
  30. Rev. Dr. Eric Pridmore, Poplarville
  31. Rev. Bess Perrier, Biloxi
  32. Rev. Pamela Cameron, Yazoo City
  33. Rev. Vera Hall, Lorman
  34. Rev. Chris Cumbest, Brandon
  35. Rev. Sheila Cumbest, Brandon
  36. Rev. Lynn Mote, Tupelo
  37. Rev. Dr. Larry Hilliard, Ridgeland
  38. Rev. Terry Hilliard, Ridgeland
  39. Rev. Rod Dickson-Rishel, Long Beach
  40. Rev. Dorothy Dickson-Rishel, Long Beach
  41. Rev. Smith Lilley, Saltillo
  42. Rev. Greg Ducker, Ellisville
  43. Rev. David Sellers, Hattiesburg
  44. Rev. Allen McGraw, Water Valley
  45. Rev. John Moore, Ridgeland
  46. Rev. Jon Kaufman, Ocean Springs
  47. Rev. Rob Gill, Hattiesburg
  48. Rev. Jim Fisher, Gulfport
  49. Rev. Sarah Windham, West Point
  50. Rev. LaSonya DeBose, Ocean Springs
  51. Rev. Allison Dickerson, Brandon
  52. Rev. Claire Dobbs, Gulfport
  53. Rev. Marianne Smith, Gloster and Crosby
  54. Rev. Oscar McGough, Brandon
  55. Rev. Dr. Joey Shelton, Jackson
  56. Rev. David Huffman, DeSoto County
  57. Rev. Timothy C. Thompson, Sr., Ridgeland
  58. Rev. Bruce Taylor, Decatur
  59. Rev. Johniel Henry, Laurel
  60. Rev. Diane Braman, Brandon
  61. Rev. Warren Black, Oxford
  62. Rev. Sally Bevill, Biloxi
  63. Rev. Clint Gill, Hattiesburg
  64. Rev. K. Dale Hensarling, Terry
  65. Rev. Rusty Keen, Meridian
  66. Rev. Dr. Stephen Cook, Jackson
  67. Rev. Philip Messner, Madison
  68. Rev. Dr. T.W. Lewis, Jackson
  69. Rev. Dr. Carl Grubbs, Ridgeland
  70. Rev. David Price, Hattiesburg
  71. Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton, Jackson
  72. Rev. Elijah Mitchell, Ocean Springs
  73. Rev. Chris Diggs, Oxford
  74. Rev. Frank Gipson, Greenwood
  75. Rev. Jim Beam-Ingram, Picayune
  76. Rev. Chris McAlilly, Oxford
  77. Rev. Willie Williams, Webb
  78. Rev. Dr. Detra Bishop, Durant
  79. Rev. Randy Marchant, Indianola
  80. Rev. Chance May, Belzoni
  81. Rev. Bert Felder, Ridgeland
  82. Rev. Carol Burnett, Biloxi
  83. Rev. Vickie White, Madison
  84. Rev. DeMario Benson, Jackson
  85. Rev. Maxine Bolden, Jackson
  86. Rev. Robert Brown, Brandon
  87. Rev. Keith Tonkel, Jackson
  88. Rev. Joe May, Jackson
  89. Rev. Patrick Hutto, Hattiesburg
  90. Rev. Rachel Pitts, Vicksburg
  91. Rev. Karie Sue McCaleb, Brandon
  92. Rev. Jimmy Carr, Brandon
  93. Rev. Joy Carr, Brandon
  94. Rev. Ed King, Jackson
  95. Rev. Don Fortenberry, Jackson
  96. Rev. Emily Sanford, Jackson
  97. Rev. Linda Lindsey-Williams, Brandon
  98. Rev. Amy Pearson Roller, Richton
  99. Rev. Kurt Appel, Petal
  100. Rev. Judy Longo, Biloxi
  101. Rev. Leanne Burris, Gulfport
  102. Rev. Cynthia Cross, Hattiesburg
  103. Rev. Cliff Burris, Diamondhead
  104. Rev. Jerry Chapman, Ocean Springs
  105. Rev. Ella Dedeaux, Pass Christian
  106. Rev. Anna Fleming-Jones, Jackson
  107. Rev. Todd Owen Watson, Hattiesburg
  108. Rev. Paul Roller, Sumrall


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