James named executive director of Mountain of Faith Ministries

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Betty Shields James has been named executive director of Mountain of Faith Ministries Inc.

The former member and vice president of the Mountain of Faith Board of Directors, James has served as acting director since August 2018. She follows Kim Smith, who was appointed executive director in November 2017 and resigned in August.

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James said she will serve as director without pay.

“I’d rather the staff get paid than me, and I’d rather for the bills to be paid,” she said. “I worked at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and I retired in 2015. So I’m getting my retirement; I’m making it off my retirement.”

“We are very thankful she has stepped up to the challenge of leading Mountain of Faith,” board president Toni Terrett said of James. “She’s done an excellent job as acting director; we know she will be an asset for our organization. She has a heart for the people we serve and we look forward to seeing what happens under leadership.

“She is doing this from the bottom of her heart, truly,” Terrett said. “It’s truly a labor of love for her.”

James was a childhood friend of Mountain of Faith founder Tina M. Hayward, who served as executive director until her death in 2017.

“Tina and I were raised together; we went to school together,” she said. “I’ve lived here in Vicksburg all my life. Tina and I went to church together and we worked on various committees at the church, and Tina had been asking me to be on the board of Mountain of Faith for years, so I just came volunteering to help out; doing a few things, and I became a member of the board.”

She was asked to serve as acting executive director by Terrett, “So I’ve been working full-time since the end of August. I work 24 hours.”

James had served as a board member and officer for Mountain of Faith since 2012. She is active in the community with other groups such as the David L. Hubbard Foundation, Vicksburg Association for Women, the Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club and Order of Eastern Star. She has also worked as an event planner.

She is the mother of two daughters and has one grandson and one granddaughter. She is a member of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

Mountain of Faith Ministries is a faith-based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in November 2002. The ministry has served homeless women and children in Warren County and the surrounding areas since Jan. 5, 2005 when the Women’s Restoration Shelter was established in Vicksburg.

The “Faith House,” a 24-month transitional facility was opened in the fall of 2012. The ministry also operates the Finders Keepers thrift store and provides assistance for qualified individuals facing eviction. Other services available include life skills, job readiness and first-time homebuyer training.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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